First Drives

I had to wait a few more days for the first drive, and when I did finally get out, there was a bit of a sting in the tail. I waited until the next weekend after I got the plates made up, getting out early on a Saturday morning and heading about 50 minutes north of Falkirk towards, then beyond, Stirling. My objective was one of my favourite biking roads, Dukes Pass into Aberfoyle.

At the start of Duke's Pass.

At the start of Duke’s Pass.

It’s a great drive, the beautiful scenery of the Trossachs National Park and Queen Elizabeth II Forest Park either side of a wonderful, twisting pass which snakes over a couple of hills before dropping down into the tiny village of Aberfoyle. It seems like Aberfoyle itself survives for, and because, of the flood of cars and bikes that come to the town to drive the pass and the other great roads in the Trossachs.

First impressions: I felt the car was very engaging to drive. Quick steering, fast accelerating, surprisingly comfortable for a 6’2″ frame, and I was just as engaged and focused in the act of driving as I was on the bike. In fact, I realised at the end of the Pass, I’d been less concerned about road surface changes and wet patches than on the bike, and more relaxed as a result. I’d enjoyed it more – and I loved it on the bike. All this, and staying below 4k revs at all times while running in, I’m yet to explore the upper reaches of the rev range.

Heading home, things got eventful. Sitting at motorway speeds (3.7k revs in 5th), my nearside cycle wing lifted from the rear wingstay bar. I continued for a little while hoping to get home (about another 10 minutes) but eventually the front wingstay arm adhesive let go too. The cycle wing started flapping about, tethered only by the wiring for the repeater, so I quickly pulled over into the hard shoulder.

I tried to rig something up with masking tape when rescue arrived, but failed. I ended up cutting the repeater wires and driving home with the cycle wing in the passenger seat. Back home, I cut off the remaining adhesive and started re-bonding the wings.

A different approach this time; I roughed up the wingstays with a rasp, then cut crosses in them with a hacksaw to provide more surface area for adhesion. Previously, I’d used my Dremel to take the paint off, but little else. After the scare I just had, I made sure there was every chance of it working this time. I also soldered the wires and protected them with more shrinkwrap.

I cut the nozzle of the adhesive tube to give a wider aperture, and the warmer temperatures in June helped the adhesive flow. I had fixed them in February and I broke a skeleton gun squeezing the trigger – thick gunk and a small hole meant I didn’t use enough for the initial fix.

The eagle-eyed may spot in the photos that I’ve also removed the offside cycle wing. Actually, the next drive after I sorted the nearside, again heading home after Duke’s Pass, the wind removed it for me. I caught this one sooner, before the adhesive completely gave up the ghost, and I was carrying a set of pliers to cut the wires.

I managed to make a much neater job of the adhesive than first time around, at least I’m not mortified by how these look on the blog, and I used the last couple of drops of the adhesive for the last stay. At the time of writing, they have survived 1000 miles in all sorts of weather, so I’m happy that they are on to stay. Pun intended.

UPDATE: 18 months, 2,500 miles and three trackdays later, the cycle wings are still solidly in place. The additional scoring and rasping has really ensured the bond is strong and lasting. If I was doing this again, I’d still not bolt the cycle wings in place.

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