I don't know much about cycle maintenance, and I don't even know what this part of the trike is called (a chain guard, maybe?), but common sense suggests that the chain is supposed to go round the spokey bit, not cut across the middle of it... :/ More pictures.
Last Wednesday I noticed the chain was slipping. Every 3rd or 4th time I pedalled it felt like it needed less pressure to turn than normal. Does that make sense? Also the trike seemed to be pulling to the right. They do have a mind of their own when it comes to steering, but that trike is new and had been behaving itself pretty well. I know from experience that it's something to worry about if a tricycle seems to be pulling to one side - the only time I've ever fallen off on a road was when my old Pashley decided to start pulling abruptly to the right, which I compensated for by over-steering to the left and going round a corner at speed, the whole thing decided to turn over. So I figured something was up. I looked at the brakes, gears and pedals but I couldn't see anything wrong. I went away for a couple of days at the weekend and asked Richard before I went to take a look at it, but I guess he didn't get round to it.
Monday it seemed fine, yesterday I noticed the slipping again and made a mental note to ask Richard to look at it again. Today I had to go to a new student who lives on a "rough" council estate. This is, btw, Kingston people's prejudice - it's generally a posh area and that's the only high-rise council estate in the locality. I'm fairly sure it's nowhere near as bad as other inner city areas - the number of people who've been raped or murdered there since we've lived here is, er, none. So I'm not sure it deserves its reputation. But anyway - I couldn't find a proper cycle rack, which surprised me, so I tied the trike onto a large concrete column - one of the posts supporting the block of flats. I half-folded it and secured it with a thick chain around the concrete post and a thin chain holding the wheels together. When I got back, the trike had been kicked over - it was lying on its side, and someone had clearly had a go at the lock and chain. There's no way the wind alone could have blown it in that direction, or could have blown it completely over from upright. It's quite stable when it's on its stand. So I figured myself lucky that I had a good lock and decided never to leave it there again. I thought that was the end of it.
Then I rode into town to do some photocopies, then I took the photocopies to another student's house, then I went to the supermarket, then I came home. On the way home, on one of the busiest roads in Kingston, the thing went kaput and the pedals stopped working. Fortunately, I was in the cycle-and-bus lane not the main road, and there wasn't a bus coming at the time. So I'm fine. The trike is also fine apart from being broken! but I had to push it all the way home
If you look closely, you'll see that the plastic chain guard has sheared through in two places. So you can't just slip the chain back on. I didn't notice it, but I guess that's why I've been feeling the pedals slipping. The way it's broken means I can't collapse the trike to take it somewhere. So I'm quite upset. Theoretically it's all under warranty, because it's only about 3 months old - I'd have to look back in my journal to see exactly when I got it. But it's the fact that I've no idea how long I'll have to wait for the part to come in, and I don't know whether Araldite + duct tape will be enough to mend it. I also don't know whether this is a random failure, an accidental failure caused by the trike fallling on its side onto concrete, or deliberate vandalism. And it's the whole mobility thing - I really do depend on the trike to get me in and out of town, and while I can get there on the bus it's all so slow.
Please send chocolate.
Edit: it's fixed.