Cycling in Sydney Australia
I pose this question after my pleasant morning's idyll was suddenly and rudely interrupted by a cacophony of harsh grinding, ratcheting noise and a locked rear wheel. As I had been cruising dreamily along on the wide, ever-so-peaceful shoulder of the M2 at somewhere between 30 and 40 km/h, this was not a welcome development. WTF was going on?
I walked to the barrier, climbed over and lifted my bike out of the carriageway. Initial inspection revealed no obvious culprit but the wheel would not turn. Had the freewheel cassette mechanism self-destructed? Axle broken? Chain wrapped around something it shouldn't? All looked pretty right in the drive train. This was not looking positive for going any further at all.
Further inspection on the non-drive side, however, revealed the problem. A long piece of thick grey wire, probably the handle of a 15-litre paint container or similar, had installed itself parallel with the seat stay, one end firmly braced against the rear brake calliper and the other end wrapped several times around the left side of the rear axle.
The only way to get it off seemed to be to laboriously unwind it from the axle but its diameter of several millimetres made that impossible without access to the kind of leverage which had put it there. My bare hands were not up to it. Plan B then: drop the rear wheel out and simply pull it off the axle. Still no go, because the QR skewer was preventing that. Remove the QR skewer and pull, then. Nope. Pull harder. Nope. Shape of axle end not helping. Put wheel on ground, stand on it and... Pull. Really. Hard. YES!
Bike reconstructed and back on the road, the interlude had been less than 10 minutes but I spent another five trying to clean sandy crap out of the shoe cleats before I could get either shoe to clip onto the pedal...
Your turn: tales of mysterious mechanical moments, great escapes from minor disasters, bad things that ended good(ly), please.
Remembered today a (rather funny?) crash I had as a teen.
I was bolting through the park on an old single speed bike, when my foot flew off the pedel, to lodge firmly in the spokes of the front wheel. Obviously a foot doesn't fit between the front fork, so the front wheel stopped.
I went over the handle bars, but with my foot lodge, the bike came with me. Tucking my head in, I rolled on my shoulders, back, then back wheel, landing straight back on two wheels, my foot now free.
If only I'd had the presence of mind to keep pedalling, it would have looked awesome. Alas, in shock, I fell over.
Classic and very funny.
That wins the internet today.
Funny I was just remembering a very similar story from my youf. We finished school early on Wednesdays, so that meant on Wednesday the 27th of May, 1987, we were able to leave school early enough and ride to Lancaster Park to make the kick off for NZ vs Fiji in the pool match rounds of the Rugby World Cup. It was a long time ago, but I still remember it only cost half a Pacific Peso to get in, because we were in school uniform.
Taking off from a red light my foot has managed to slip off the front of my pedal and somehow caught on the tyre or spokes of the front wheel, and the next thing I knew the toes of my left foot were jammed between the wheel/fork/brake caliper and I couldn't get them out (partly because the rotating wheel kept them jammed in). I did manage to keep it upright, stop and remove my foot, but never saw my mates who'd continued on to the game. All up it was a good result, on both accounts. I remember before kick off a couple of blokes in front of me discussed what the score was going to be: one said "ABs by 50", 40 minutes later his mate said "you said ABs by 50 - but you didn't say by half time".
My other school crashes or almost crashes were:
- Another Wednesday afternoon we went for a ride, taking a private road up a hill to an old TB hospital. We weren't really supposed to ride it, but no one really cared. At the top you rode around the back of the hospital before exiting down the driveway to a bus turning circle at the end of a dead end road. I was on my track bike pushing a big gear so was the last one up. By the time I got to the driveway everyone was waiting for me in the turning circle so I started to fang down the driveway which was covered in dappled light from the trees lining it. The group started waving at me so I sped up some more. Turns out the reason they were waving was because there was a judder bar speed hump I couldn't see. And didn't see. BANG! I hit it hard, and lost both hands, my left foot (same one as mentioned above), and bum off my saddle. Being a fixed wheel track bike, my clipped-in right continued to pump up and down furiously. I have no idea how, but somehow I managed to regather it all and kept upright, making it to the turning circle where one of my mates said that was the best crash he'd NEVER seen.
- Another time when I was track cycling we were doing 200m sprint warm ups - we'd drop from the outside of the track to the inside to sprint from the 200m line to the finish line, then continue on up the embankment at the corner to slow down, before taking another sprint. My mate was a better sprinter than I so he crossed the line first but I was just inside his shoulder. As he started moving up the embankment I couldn't get out from inside him fast enough and he didn't realise I was there. He pushed all the way up to the rail inside the corner where if I'd come off it'd have been a -132° fall and sliding head first down the embankment through everyone else warming up. Instead I ruined a pair of gloves and took the skin off my knuckles as they grazed along the board as I just managed to get behind him before he went all the away up.
- And the final story involved something about a good looking girl walking up my street as I rode down it (average gradient -10%), a corner that, and some gravel, but I'm a bit hazy on the details of this one. I do however remember it hurt. And she didn't stop.
But, just to complete the fairy-tale, you ended up marrying her, right?
That would indeed, complete the fairy tale.
Playing chicken with an over grown bush comes to mind
-A high quality wooden rocking horse left on the footpath as rubbish. (I sudden halted, grabbed it and balanced it on my bicycle.)
-A completely broken and sheared cup in my rear wheel bearing did not bring me to a halt. When I did stop and try to walk my bike home the rear wheel wouldn't turn, it just dragged. So it was easier to ride the bicycle home, despite the wheel wobbling and screaming like a banshee and everyone looking at me.
(The hub was HOT to the touch when I arrive home. Naturally the hub was toast.)
I was stopped this afternoon by a roll of duct tape crossing the road in front of me. That's why the call them rolls because it's exactly what they do. Apparently. I gave it a new home.
Later on in the same ride I was stopped by a moron in a white van as I was half-way through one of those single lane chicanes in East Roseville/Chatswood. Said moron tried to bluff me that he wasn't going to give way, despite not even being in the chicane yet. He did just stop before running me down, yelling me I wasn't there first (yeah, right) and I was only on a "pushbike". If he had simply lifted his foot from the accelerator when he first saw me there would have been no conflict but he was suffering MGIF syndrome (despite going opposite way) and as a result only delayed himself unnecessarily. Sometimes I wish I had a gun. (It's probably a good thing I don't.)
Careful where you point that thing, it's loaded!
Mine was not really a strange object but it was a rather thick piece of steal rod. Here is my original discussion about it
BTW, if you've read my original post and are interested, I retired the wheel about a year ago after many years of riding on my rebuilt wheel.