Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

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Pothole Ouch

Blog Date - 17 April 2024


A puddle among many other puddles on a back lane in Cheshire. Only this one is a pothole, apparently. I've ridden over myriad potholes before and while it's never a pleasant experience it's been tolerable. This one must be a wrong 'un. I'm stopped just after the pothole, upright and still on the bike mercifully but my hands are off the bars, my feet are off the pegs and I'm feeling rather discombobulated. I'm having a moment, I don't know who I am, where I am, what I'm doing, or what is going on.

I have Sharon and 2 other riders behind me. I wave frantically and desperately, hoping to warn them to at least be careful if not to stop and ask what the hell I'm up to. Fortunately all 3 seem to negotiate by me without catching the pothole. I'm still flustered, I can't find my gear, start (or is it stop) the engine, get my stand down (or is it up) and leave (or is it stay).

A pothole
Just one of my collection of pothole images from the archive.

Right. Get a grip. Sort yourself out boy. Check the bike. Both wheels are intact, tyres inflated and there's no immediate sign of a buckle or dent. It starts fine and it rides fine, although we're only going around the corner to a cafe. I think I've been lucky. A friend just recently hit a random lump of metal on the motorway, buckling his wheel which cost (ouch) £750 to replace. 

Now we've stopped and sat down I notice I'm actually quite sore. The bump has ricked my neck, shaken my arms and strained my legs. I'm not in agony and I can function, it's that pain you might have when you've saved yourself from a trip by grabbing something then pulled or strained several bits while keeping yourself upright.

There's a part of me that immediately wants to launch into a tirade about the state of the nation. Something along the lines of "Eeee, when I wur a lad we didn't have all these potholes, the roads were billiard table smooth" etc. Then I'd recall how the footpaths were paved with gold and the sun always shone and no-one had to lock their doors. This is of course nonsense, there have been potholes both big and small since the dawn of time. 

A smooth twisting road through trees and valleys
All roads wuz perfect when I wur a lad - I'm sure of it.

It's now the following Monday and with a proper computer in front of me I will do the world a favour and report the pothole to the council in question. After a little research I find the appropriate council - Cheshire East - and the "report a problem" page. I find then enter the postcode and immediately the map has lots of pins (markers) on around my pothole. I'm certainly not the first to report this issue, I'm probably not the first to be caught out by it.

It is my understanding that if I or my bike had come to harm due to this pothole and the respective council knows about the pothole then they are potentially liable for any damages (see I know MANY councils around the UK are struggling, some of them are essentially broke. They can't afford to fix the roads they are responsible for and yet they are liable for the roads they can't afford to fix. Catch 22. 

Oh would it not be lovely to enjoy those billiard table smooth roads in our perfect fantasy world? Yes of course it would but then then we'd moan about the high taxes we'd have to pay to fix and maintain them. It's a balance thing and your political point of view influences where you think the balance should be made. And for every pound spent on keeping our precious roads smooth there is a pound less spent on schools or social care or housing or countless other equally important services.

I'm glad it's not me who has to make all these choices. Anyhow I'd like to think I'll learn from my experience and avoid anything potentially potholey in the future. I'd like to think that, experience tells me I won't.

Advertise your pothole compensation services here - contact

Reader's Comments

nab301 said :-
With all the rain in recent months , road damage is an issue everywhere unfortunately.... in a couple of months time the tar will be melting causing other issues . I think we've all been there at some stage , the memorable one for me many years ago was my brand new MZ 250, the pothole nearly had me off the bike and destroyed both (spoked) rims.
The main thing is surviving for another day with no other vehicle involved.

17/04/2024 13:33:56 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
"but then then we'd moan about the high taxes we'd have to pay to fix and maintain them".
But don't we anyway, pay high tax that is? Aren't we one of the highest taxed nations on earth? That's when all forms of taxation are considered.
The country is a disgrace, litter, potholes, illegality, general ineptitude of gen whatever and the occupants of the Houses of Parliment couldn't organise a pee up in a brewery.
We will have a new government of some colour or other coming along soon, but nowt will change.
I blame Cromwell.

17/04/2024 16:43:39 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
While UK taxes are higher than in most other English-speaking developed economies (such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland and the United States), they are considerably lower than in most other western European countries.

Under current government plans, UK tax revenue is forecast to increase to 37.7% of GDP
by 2027–28. This would take the UK above both the current OECD and G7 averages. It should be noted, however, that other governments may also increase their levels of taxation by then.

Only two certainties in life, death and taxes. Make that 3, Potholes!
17/04/2024 16:54:32 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
The trouble with this country (he said leaning against the bar) is that people expect Western European levels of public service for American levels of taxation. And that ignores the fact that tipping people in the USA is virtually compulsory and is at least 20% of any bill.

Tax the rich I say!
17/04/2024 17:08:54 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
I don't know if you eat out much Ian me'lad. If you do check your bill, I've found 15% service added a couple of times lately.....and I was invited to tip on top!
17/04/2024 17:21:27 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Yes, they often do that but remove it when asked. I always prefer to give the cash directly. Of course in France, tipping more than a few odd coins isn't normal practice as waiters etc are paid properly....
18/04/2024 10:13:40 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Before I go any further can I state for the record I've got nothing against spotty teenagers. But!
Ian, you raise an interesting point, not the first time and I doubt it will be the last.
I always find the English teenager to be ill suited to waitering, with one or two exceptions. They are not starting a career, it is merely an iPhone interlude. They have no knowledge of the food or wine. They just carry the food from the kitchen to the table, returning 5 minutes later to request your impression of the food. Albeit they have zero interest in your reply.
Now your professional EU waiter is a different kettle of fish. They know the menu back to front and will suggest wine pairings at all price ranges. Obviously this doesn't include Parisian waiters. They are a different breed entirely, arrogant and full of pffffffftttttt's.
Your average EU diner is usually very helpful too and we've had numerous good suggestions from fellow munchers as to the best food on offer. They're usually right too.
How did we get here from potholes and a shaking Ed. Pffffffftttttt.
18/04/2024 16:00:32 UTC
ROD¹ said :-
We got here because Ren ventured a little to close to the politics of the pothole situation.
I am keeping quiet. My views are very right wing so my freedom of speech disappeared years ago!
18/04/2024 17:37:54 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Don't go to Brussels Rod....not that you would.
You'll be cancelled.
18/04/2024 18:45:13 UTC

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