…should not have caused this much trouble:

  • Cycling home I hear this loud “Ping!” and wondered what on earth had happened, but couldn’t feel or see anything wrong.
  • Then I looked down and noticed my rear wheel wasn’t running true and so knew it was a broken spoke. Gutted, but at least I could get home.
  • A few miles later another “Ping!” (this must be the sound of the head of the spokes bouncing off the plastic guard at the back of the cassette - I don’t have one on my fixed gear so the sound is much more subtle on that). I’ve never had one go straight after the other like that.
  • The wheel began to rub since it was out of true so I used the quick release on the rear brake to open it up and carried on.
  • It was still rubbing and was getting worse. That’s when I realised the wheel had gone out of true so much it was rubbing on the frame and not just the brakes.
  • So there was nothing left for it, but to get off and carry the bike (since the wheel had jammed that much I couldn’t wheel it; I think riding it with two broken spokes caused it to go more out of true). Fortunately it was only four miles. And fortunately road bikes don’t weigh much!

And that should have been the end of it of course. Unless you are me, in which case:

  • You don’t have a cassette tool (since you weren’t anticipating any repairs so soon on this bike) so you can’t replace the spokes.
  • You don’t have any money to get a cassette tool, nor anyone to borrow one off. Which means you need to get another bike up and running.
  • Fortunately you have your old fixed gear, but owing to severe lack of maintenance the pedals are completely broken (bearings gone completely and pedals will catch and lock up - not really what you want on a fixed gear).
  • But that’s not a problem, since you can just swop over the pedals from your new road bike and job’s done.

And that should have been the end of it. Unless you are me, in which case:

  • The pedals will not budge at all. You of course do not have a proper pedal wrench, but even with what you do have and a hammer they are going no where.
  • Reading around, applying heat seems to be recommended (since the cranks are aluminium and the pedal axle is steel). So, heat up cranks (coal fires do have their uses), remove pedals and fit new?

And that should have been the end of it. Unless you are me, in which case:

  • The fixed gear, having taken quite a bit of abuse, is not the cleanest of things. In using a crank puller to get the cranks off, so I can stick them in the fire, the threads strip on the cranks - and I’m guessing that’s because the threads were that dirty that I didn’t screw it in enough.
  • Fortunately, after a couple of attempts and an bit more stripping I do manage to get it to engage in a couple of threads and pull the crank off.
  • So I stick the crank and pedal in the fire. Heat does NOTHING whatsoever.

I now have two broken bikes and no friggin’ idea what to do. And I need my bike to get to work. A bit stressed. But owing to a stroke of genius and luck:

  • Take cranks off new bike.
  • The large chainring pretty much lines up spot on with the rear cog on the fixed gear.
  • The 19T cog I got for winter on the fixed gear gives a pretty much perfect ratio (~70 gear inches) with the 50T chainring from the road bike.
  • I actually have some spare links to make up the chain to a long enough length.

Phew! All sorted until I can get the road bike running again.