11 September 2014

Stardate 2014.696


Greetings, readers. With bicycle and motorcycle experience spanning 40 years, I thought I was prepared for anything. Today I had a big surprise. Chain suck doubled back on itself when I inadvertently back-pedalled before realizing where my chain had decided to hide. In plain English, I was performing a sloppy shift, and I paid the price.

I created an extremely beautiful frame, chain and front derailleur wedgy all in one. Thankfully, I don't ride carbon fiber mountain bike frames. Yet, the same scenario could play out on any of my carbon road bikes. I wasn't happy. The chain was so tight, I couldn't get any chain play to work with.

Out came the tools.

I took off the derailleur without losing any fingers to the unleashed tension. The chain loosened a bit, but not enough.

So I took the chain off.

Modern chains use master links similar to those found on motorcycles. They're quite handy. Except for Shimano chains, you still need to press a new chain pin through the links.

However, you still need enough chain with which to work. Luckily, removal of the derailleur allowed enough slack to undo the master link. On the other hand, the whole situation wasn't really a big deal. Had I not been able to position the master link correctly for removal, I would have broken the chain at any link and installed another master link, of which I carry a spare with me.

I don't have a lot of mechanicals; but I do carry just enough tools and zip ties to fix, or rig, something together if need be, including Shimano chain pins should I come across a cyclist dead in the water (figuratively speaking). I also carry a tube and several CO2 cartridges.

Tools are wrapped in a bandana and cinched down with a rubber band cut from an old tube to help mitigate any rattle that may drive me insane.

An off day I suppose because half-way down the canyon I punctured big enough to blow sealant all over me. On the bright side, remaining sealant sealed right up, and I didn't have to fix a flat on the way out.



  1. Always so happy to have you along on a ride because you are such a fantastic riding partner (and photographer!), and then there's this added bonus of having a skilled mechanic along on every single ride... ;)

  2. If Mr. M weren't already asleep I would have called him over to read this post. He could identify with EVERY word!

    Glad you ride well-equipped for emergencies. Sealant is such a boon to cycling mankind, isn't it? Last year I blew out a tire and got lime-green spattered. But it all peeled right off when dry. :)


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