One of my last preparatory acts is to break down my bicycle and put it into its hard case ready for transporting all the way to Austin, Texas. I intend to practise taking it apart and putting it back together again, several times, under the watchful eye of the owner of my LBS and his able assistant, one of my former club mates who has moved to a club which better supports his racing ambitions; Sprinter Club de Nice.

Yesterday, in readiness for today’s exercise, I transported my hard case down to the LBS. No mean feat in a Smart car. It did fit into the front seat, or should I say seats, of the car while leaving no room for me. It wouldn’t fit into the boot. So that just left the bike rack on the back of the car. While not a wholly satisfactory way of transporting the case, it was my only option.

The Smart bike carrier is triangular. Cupped holders secure the wheels and a separate arm secures the bike frame. I have happily transported the bike afar on this contraption, though I must admit to nervously glancing frequently in the mirrors to verify that a) it’s still there and b) it’s still in one piece.

In order to attach the case, I had to dismantle the arm, but it kept slipping off the cupped holders and listing to the right-hand side of the car. Undeterred, I tethered it with yards of wide white rope. The end result was weirdly sado-masochistic but not even Henry Houdini would have been able to escape. I will have to use the same method to transport the case containing the bike back home. Wisely, I have decided to book a taxi for the 10 minute trip to the airport early next Wednesday morning; far less stressful.

I took the bike down this afternoon and, after a quick espresso, work started in earnest and, as is so often the case, was nowhere near as difficult as I’d thought. I watched carefully, visualised the process, took notes and am going back on Monday afternoon to reassemble and disassemble it once again. In the meantime, I need to acquire a No 15 spanner to deal with the pedals. I’m now feeling quietly confident. Let’s hope it’s not misplaced.