Yesterday on our Ashton Court walk, the birds were in vibrant song, full of industrious activity, sensing the emergence of spring. Clearly it was infectious for, on returning home, I spent a happy few hours busily giving my Nordic walking poles an MOT. A couple of tips needed replacing and some of my straps were distinctly tired.
Many of you have now had your poles for sufficiently long that it is probably time to pay them a little attention. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your poles are in good working order:
Your wrist-straps (Both Exel and Leki)
- They don’t mind going through the washing machine (I wash mine at 40 degrees) and look very smart afterwards. When did you last wash yours?
- Do they still work efficiently or do they come undone during a walk as you push down and into them? If this is happening it is probable that the velcro has lost its adhesiveness. This is extremely annoying – but there are a couple of solutions. The first is to buy another pair of straps, which will set you back about £20 (we generally have some in stock so ask us if you need any). The second is to buy a short length of black Velcro, get out your sewing machine and sew over the existing, poor performing material. Check out the main photo to see what I mean.
The Exel All Terrain (AT) tips
- Again, they benefit from a good wash every now and then, especially if you’ve been on lots of mucky walks as the mud can clog up the opening and closing of the paw.
- Eventually, the paw will become slack from the frequency of being opened and closed and from general wear and tear. It then starts to knock against the pole shaft when you plant the tip into the ground. This presents as a sort of vibration up the shaft of the pole, even with 100% carbon poles, and is irritating. The first thing to do is to try and squeeze the paw at the hinge so that it sits more tightly against the pole. If this doesn’t work you will either have to remove your paws altogether (which rather defeats the object of having an AT tip) or replace the tip entirely. We stock Exel AT tips and sell them individually or as a pair – so just ask us if you need any. We can also show you how to replace the tip if you’re no sure what to do, although there’s a useful video on the subject made by Karen Ingram.
- Occasionally the tungsten carbide tip can work loose and fall out, leaving you with a flat base and no grip when you plant into the ground. If this happens the only solution is to buy a new AT tip and replace the damaged one.
Nothing should ever go wrong with the shaft of fixed length poles. With adjustable and travel poles the different sections sometimes don’t tighten properly – they just spin round and round. If this happens to you, pull the shaft out until you can see the little ‘tightening’ widget and twist it until it splays open a bit more. Then push the shaft back to where you want it and try again. It should now ‘bite’ quite happily, allowing you to get on with your walk.
As you can see from the above, Nordic walking poles are not high maintenance and, with a little TLC (tender loving care) should last you a very long time.