Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Weakest Link

Not entirely unexpected, but I've had another mechanical hiccup. I'm beginning to think that I'm really too fat to ride a bike! I really don't know how I managed it, but my drive chain snapped yesterday. I was starting from a dead stop and using body weight to get going. A couple turns in I hear a creak - pop! Just that quick I nearly fall over because the pedal falls without any resistance, and then the chain gets wedged in the back wheel and causes it to lock up. Thankfully I didn't fall - the car behind me didn't seem very patient.

It was a shameful walk from the bus stop to the bike shop. Am I the only one who gets funny looks when walking my bicycle? Thankfully, the guy at the shop is reasonable and competent. A whole $15 bucks later I was back in business! I swear that they're too cheap on the labor ($5 for 20 minutes of work) but you won't hear me complain. My lovely wife and daughter met me there and we had a homemade dinner "out"! It made for a long evening but certainly not a bad evening.

Still, a broken chain is a bummer. And it got me thinking about spare parts. This is one of those things where someone can go overboard and bring too many things. Right now, I bring absolutely nothing. My reasoning behind this is that my bike route is close to the transit routes, so the farthest I'd have to walk is to the next bus stop. I'm curious what other people carry with them. A tube and pump seem like reasonable things to bring, but my pump isn't very portable. And I don't know that I'd want to do something like changing a tube on the side of the road.

For everyone out there, let me know what you bring with you in the comments. Not just parts, but riding gear, extra clothes, towels, bungee straps, anything!


  1. I've got a front and rear rack with 4 panniers. One front pannier carries the "rescue kit" of a tire tool, wrench, spare tube, air pump, a small "fix-a-flat" type of canned air with sealant (which I learned will freeze if left outside overnight), patches, allen wrench set, a 1st aid kit, and a rain suit. The other front pannier carries two U locks and cables (my Surly racks cost more than the bike so I lock them both up), and a rope and a collection of bungee cords.

    I have two Axiom Champlain panniers on the back which are absolutely huge. One carries my clothes & towel for my 3 day a week commute to work and the other one goes empty at that time. On grocery runs which is only 1 mile away I'll fill them both up with groceries.

    Since I'm pushing 240 lbs on an old school mountain bike, obviously I'm not too concerned about hauling around some extra weight. But I took off the knobby tires and am running on what are basically slicks, which I found out aren't nearly as flat resistant, hence, all the tire stuff.

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