Talk about an unlucky break, you may recall I made mention of loaning our ’98 Erickson to some friends during my on-line video tour of our garage. Well, OK… so only the 38 of you who actually accessed that video may have known about that.
To make a long story short, one of the teams in our oldest and dearest collection of tandem family members were in Italy on an Erickson Cycle Tour this past summer when they experienced a one-two punch that nearly ended their two-week long tandem cycling vacation way too soon. The one-two punch was a rear axle failure, followed immediately by a clean break in their right rear chainstay where it was mated with the rear drop-out. Yup, plain and simple… they had a broken frame. Now, there’s a bit of a subtle irony here in that the frame that failed was the travel tandem Glenn Erickson had built for them 10 years earlier… before he retired from frame building.
So, on one hand you’re thinking if you’re going to have a frame fail during a European cycling vacation, what are the odds you’d be fortunate enough to be with your frame builder when that frame failed! Therein lies the irony: the good fortune had suffered some depreciation over the years given their frame builder didn’t have any frame building tools and materials on hand and, well… as noted earlier, he had retired from frame building. Doh!
Although somewhat agitated, our intrepid friends were at least recovered and aided in getting their crippled tandem transported to a local welder who was able to temporarily mend the broken stay and drop-out back together for $40. They limped along on their damaged rear Bontrager Race Lite Tandem wheel for the remainder of the trip, noting it would no longer allow the freehub to free wheel, so pedal–pedal-pedal was the rule of the day, even on those long descents. As for getting the frame permanently repaired, clearly the OEM was no longer an option. And, by the way, that’s always a risk you assume when you buy from a small custom builder: if they retire or otherwise close up shop, you’re often times on your own for any issues you may encounter down the road, so to speak.
OK, fast forward to our Saint Augustine weekend on March 11-13 and readers may recall reading the embedded sidebar entitled “The Mechanical” when the temporary repair on the couple who shall remain nameless‘ tandem gave way. Once again, while good fortune didn’t exactly smile on them, he smirked a bit and with a little luck, some duck tape, and another team’s spare tandem, they once again were able to ride again later that day and on Sunday, thus salvaging their weekend. However, it was pretty clear that a permanent repair would be necessary.
So, after striking out with two well known tandem builders who were backed up for several months, our friends fell into the capable hands of the Yellow Jersey’s frame shop in Madison, Wisconsin. They were more than happy to fix our friends fractured frame and in short order.
Here are a couple photos (not for the squeamish)