Songs of Praise

Well, the BBC came with cameras and microphones.  They were a great crew, and we had an excellent time. They insisted that the presenter, David, should come on the back of the tandem.

It seems a long time since anyone other than Sarah sat on the back – what the professionals call the stoker’s seat. We had our wobbles to begin with but it seemed to work in the end.

I was surprised how much of the interview was based on the idea that I am trying to use only locally produced food. We went into the country market in the town centre.  We went to Linham’s the butchers, and the people talked with fervour of local produce.

The BBC man asked if I thought there was a deeper purpose to cycling.  So I talked about how I feel that prayer and meditation have taken an entirely interior turn whereas I feel that prayer is as much connecting with the world- not all hands together and eyes shut.

We managed not to fall off, although the right front pedal fell off having stripped its thread.  Anyone know what kind of front crank a 1988 Dawes Super Galaxy tandem should have?


3 thoughts on “Songs of Praise

  1. David

    By the looks of some photos I have seen, the Dawes has a cross-over drive, which means that the front chain runs on the opposite side from the main chain. That’s the most common arrangement, but some tandems have both chains on the right. You’ll be able to confirm this of course, because you have the bike.

    The consequence is that you need a right crank with no chain ring. For obvious reasons, most right cranks have a chain ring (or fittings for one). You need to remember that right cranks have a right-hand pedal thread and left cranks a left-hand, because of a mechanical effect that makes pedals unscrew themselves if the threads are the other way around.

    The only way to get a crank with a right-hand pedal thread and no chain ring (or fittings) is to buy a specific tandem front crank. The actual make of crank doesn’t matter that much, except possibly for visual appearance, if left and right would obviously look different. It will be a square-taper crank; that’s the kind of fitting that secures the crank onto the spindle that goes through the bottom bracket to the other crank. The cranks also need to be the same length as each other, but that’s almost certainly 170mm. The maker and length may well be stamped on the back, near the spindle. I know Dawes used Stronglight cranks at one point.

    Shops not ridiculously far from you that understand tandems, and will know where to get parts, include Argos Cycles in Bristol, and St John’s Street Cycles in Bridgwater. However, a good local bike shop could probably also help, so you may want to start with the place that is fixing your Brompton. You can get a thread insert put into a crank, but replacing the crank is probably easier.

    To replace the crank yourself, you need a crank extractor to get the old crank off. To put it on, you just need a ratchet spanner set, which many people have in a home tool kit.

    Sorry this is so long. Hope it helps.

    1. Ramsbury Post author

      Brilliant. I’m going to Bath tomorrow where amongst other tasks I shall be talking to a bike shop about surgery on the Brompton. I’ll ask them then.


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