The guys over at Blue Collar Mountain Biking always seem to come up with gnarly quick fix ideas and the latest one I read about, using quick release levers to change a bike tire, seems like a great trick. They also have about a dozen uses for duct tape, definitely check out their blog if you haven’t seen it already.
Anyway, this got me thinking about some of the quick fixes I’ve had to make out on the trail and despite the fact that I don’t know much about bike repair, I’ve always been able to make it off the trail with my bike. Here’s a run down of some more memorable problems (with solutions) I’ve encountered on the trail:
Broken spoke: This one really isn’t a big deal I guess and I’m not even the one who came up with the fix. I was riding a trail (Big Woods, maybe?) and one of my rear wheel spokes snapped. I was actually more worried about damaging my rim at this point since my wheel was surely weakened but I also had the problem of a wiley spoke getting stuck each time the wheel went around. One of the guys I was riding with wrapped the spoke around the spoke beside it and that did the trick. I was super careful to avoid smacking my wheel on a root or rock on the way out but in the end, I made it with no problems (and no damage).
Missing pedal: Yep, that’s right – I lost a pedal (actually both pedals, read on). Leah and I were riding out at Mount Herman in Colorado and we got onto a gnarly overgrown section of trail where we ended up walking out bikes for a bit. The scrub bushes brushed our bikes and our legs as we pushed the narrow trail and somehow the branches must have loosened my clipless pedals as we walked. As we got to the dirt road I noticed that BOTH of my pedals were gone. At this point the light was fading but I knew I needed at least one pedal to make it down the fast and bumpy dirt road back to the car. We walked back into the singletrack and fortunately we found one pedal (though not the other). I screwed the pedal back in and rode the whole way back with just one pedal. Riding with one pedal wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined, especially since I was able to clip in. Man, I’m extreme
By the way – we went back to the trail the next day and in the daylight found my other pedal. Sweet.
Collapsed derailleur: Another late evening ride, this time at Tsali in North Carolina. Leah and I were doing the Left loop and once we were about 3 miles in I noticed that I was unable to shift my rear derailleur. Lo and behold, I had no rear derailleur – at least no derailleur pulleys. We realized if we attempted to walk out it would be dark long before we made it to the car so we began to search for parts. We quickly found the pulley cogs a few hundred yards back down the trail but we were missing the critical screws that hold the cogs in place. We searched and searched for 45 minutes, still with no luck. At this point it was getting close to 8 pm and we knew we had find those screws. Somehow we did eventually find the screws, reassembled the derailleur, and made it back to the car just in time. Not really a MacGuyver move, more like a rabbit’s foot or something.
Anyway, I’m interested to hear other things people have done in a pinch while out on the trails.