Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Chain of Command

This morning, out of the blue, my chain started skipping. It felt like my rear derailleur was way out of adjustment, so I didn't think much of it. I was just riding to the bus stop at The Maul.

As I approached 95th street from Quivira, my left turn light lit up. Usually, I have to camp out at this intersection. This was A Good Thing, as I was running a bit behind schedule. I hammered it to make the light and the skipping got worse. Then I completely lost my power.

I figured the chain slid off the tall chainring, so I just coasted through the intersection which to my fortune was still green. I downshifted to the small ring, which usually brings the chain back into place, but it didn't. I looked down, and there was no chain (There was only Zuul)

I looked behind me and saw the bus approaching, too. Decision time:

  1. Stop, walk back to where I dropped my chain, break out the chain tool and fix my bike then wait half an hour for the next bus?
  2. Coast as far as I can (95th is a downhill to the Maul Parking Lot), walk the bike the last hundred yards or so, and catch the bus?
The chain has survived a winter of salt, grime, and abuse. I've kept it well lubricated, but you can only do so much. It's probably time for a replacement anyway.

As I write this, I'm on the Dreaded bus, heading home. The bus stops at a stansfer station for a good 15 minutes. This is why I can beat the bus home on my bicycle, when it's running properly.

I snapped these while walking to meet with an information security colleague of mine over lunch.


Anonymous said...

cool story! sounds scary...i've had moments like that. guess a chain will only last a winter up there!

Warren T said...

This confirms my belief that chains have a sensor that can determine the worst possible place to break and triggers the failure there.

Sirrus Rider said...

Well at least in the process you didn't do a foot plant and buzz cut your ankle. That sort of scenario is a possibility with a chain break.

Jon said...

You know, that happened to me on the way home, one day last year, and I ended up walking 3-1/2 miles to the house.

Anonymous said...

I've never had a chain fail. I do not know why.

A friend of mine bought a new trek 7300 from a local shop about 3 years ago. At about mile 7 the chain broke and she returned to the shop......they charged her for a new chain!

I would have used the broken chain to choke them to death.

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