Friday, March 15, 2013

Roadside Un-fixable

I'm starting my bike training early this season. In the past, I've waited far too long to get going on some longer, more challenging (this is code for riding hills) rides, and I have plans in the works for this summer, so I don't want to be out of bike-shape and not be able to do what I would like.
*Image found here
The first "real" ride I went on resulted in a broken/seized rear hub. It was one of those rides that just started off horribly. I felt tired, run down, and as though my legs weren't doing what I needed them to do. I decided to take a trail to the back roads rather than navigating through the car traffic, but spots that are typically quite easy (even over the winter) were brutal. I kept asking myself what was wrong with me, but just assumed it was lack of sleep and/or lack of bike training over the prior months. When I finally reached the back roads, things were going from bad to worse. I would try to crank harder on the pedals and it felt as though the bike was fighting against me. I assumed it was because I was traveling on a slight uphill and carried on.

Finally, I'd had enough and decided to turn around. I got about a mile out from the turn around spot and my bike literally began to stop. I could hear what sounded like my saddle bag dragging on a tire, but when I felt behind me, there was plenty of room between the two. What gives? I decided to just pull off the road and take a look. As I dismounted, my bike wouldn't move - literally. I went to spin the back wheel and it wouldn't budge at all. I had a brief moment of panic, but called Sam to ask if there was something I should check... of course, he didn't answer. So, I started looking at the brakes to make sure they weren't rubbing (they weren't), the saddle bag was well above the tire (and wouldn't make it so the wheel wouldn't move at all anyway), and I couldn't see anything that would be blocking the wheel from moving.

A few minutes later, Sam returned my call and went through pretty much everything I had already checked. "I think I'm stuck out here," I finally said, "because I just can't get it to budge and I can't leave the bike here." A friend ended up coming to get me and after some finessing to attempt to cram the bike into her car, I made it home safely.
My plea for assistance was quickly answered. :O)
Later, Sam determined that the inside of the rear hub had actually bent. Apparently the skewer had come loose and was tightening itself from the opposite side. Eventually, it simply broke the hub causing the lack of movement while I was pedaling. In many ways, I felt better about the initial ride out... after all, at least it wasn't that I was so out of shape I couldn't pedal anymore (or at least that's what I'm going to tell myself). I, however, was not thrilled about a broken hub that I've only ridden on for about 400 miles (or so). I suppose these things happen though, and the replacement part is en-route, so there isn't too much to worry about (I hope) for future rides.

The lesson I learned from this is that I can't always be prepared for anything that might happen on the roads. A flat tire I can deal with, but not a broken hub. Have you had an experience out on the road that was more than you could handle with the limited tools in your bike bag? What would you do if you were in a situation that wasn't repairable on the side of the road?

1 comment:

  1. This is an oddball thing that you just can't be prepared for. It simply does not happen. However, it forced us into a new/nicer hub, so good came from bad..

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