NEWB Moments: Two Cautionary Tales

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    • #127792

      Tale 1: The tire "squeeze check", and why you should use an actual gauge!

      Growing up, my Dad would check my bike over for me before I went for a ride with my neighborhood friends. This included checking the tires, usually by squeezing the sidewalls or pressing on the tread with a thumb. I learned this as a quick method to ensure my tires hadn’t gone flat. Fine for riding on the streets as a kid. Fast forward 25 years, and I often do the same thing to my 29er hardtail. Not so fine. Today, on a whim, I checked my tires and found that over weeks of just finger-checking them, they had gradually bled down to 18 psi (tubed 2.1" mtb tires, so a bit on the low side for a 185lb rider). How I didn’t get a pinch-flat on my last rip-roaring rocky raid, I’ll never know. But fortunately, I caught it before any damage was done. Not so on my second story for the day…

      Tale 2: The weakest link, and why once a pin is out, it’s done.

      Installing a new chain on my bike was a breeze. Or so I thought. I accidentally pushed a link pin all the way out when I was shortening the chain to the proper length for my groupset. Since I had lost the breakaway pin that Shimano sends with every new chain, I used the pin I just pushed out to complete the link. I was painfully reminded of this 4 miles into my [i:1ooktlsh]first ride[/i:1ooktlsh] with the new chain, when it snapped on me with zero warning during a slightly uphill standing start. I know it was the link I jimmied during the install, because it still had the Sharpie mark on it from my chain fit check. Fortunately, a buddy had a shop-grade chain breaker tool, and got me going again in less than 5 minutes, less one link of chain. The chainring lacerations on the back of my right leg have also almost completely healed. Word to the wise: if that pin is out, it should stay out. Use a master link or a joining pin as God (and Shimano, and KMC, and all other chain mfrs) intended.

      These were stark reminders for me, so I figured I’d pass them on…

    • #127793

      I tried the chain trick with the same results, never tried that again! Good suggestion on the master link. I prefer the KMC Missing Link and will even put new chains together with one for when I want to take the chain off and really clean it. Plus, at $11.99 for 6 of them, I always have a spare or two in my pack!

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