Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
17 posts • Page 1 of 1
Worked late tonight so was really in the mood for a good fast ride home.
All started well with good pace for the first 3 or 4 k averaging a bit over 30kph ....then "Snap" front derallier cable broke.
Because I commute on a MTB I was then stuck in the granny gear of the trebble for the next 21k!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It is a long slow ride like that and I discovered a few things
1. top speed of 18kph unless I was prepared to spin like an idiot
2. you feel (and look) like an idiot "sprinting" for a 15m to catch a green light with a cadence of about 1000 achieving a speed of 25kph
3. it is amazing how much of the ride I did just coasting slightly above the comfortable peddling pace
4. it puts a lot more weight on your arms when you are not pushing resistance with your legs & therby taking some weight on them (unexpected!!)
5. it is amazing how LITTLE effort and energy you can put into riding a bike
6. consequently you don't warm up...in fact you get colder and colder (ended up stopping to put arm warmers and gloves on)
7. there is a lot of time to ponder the discoveries
BORING!!!!!!!!!!!! Very glad to arive home
Definitely my slowest commuter ever...20.30kph average for the 25.66 k ride (would have been a lot lower if it hadn't been for the fast first few K).
Geez, your chain must have loved that!
I see guys pedling MTB's furiously and getting nowhere slowly sometimes, and now i have to stop and consider they may have busted a cable instead of being numbnuts.
Good old granny ring, eh, where would we be without them.
As a general bit of info, here's a possible "get you home" fix for anyone else in this situation.
Depends on where the break is in the cable but should apply to both front or rear deralliers.
Set derallier, by hand, to a convenient setting. Take up tension in inner cable and secure or wrap cable around (for example) one of the frame mounted cable guides. I had the rear cable go at the brifter, so was able to run the bike as a two-speed with the rear on the 15T cog.
Or wedge a bit of suitable stick between the derailleur and seat tube, did that once when I was younger, but I did have some cable ties at hand to help secure it all (always have some zip ties in my handlebar tube).
Thanks for all the things I could have done folks...I did actually ponder a bit of that stuff at the time but couldn't be bothered stopping and trying to make it work...and ther was a little part of me that was interested inthe experience as it was unfolding anyway. In hindsight I should had tried some of those options though
The thing that really makes it worst is that the bike had done everything it could to warn me that this was about to happen...ie earlier in the week I was having trouble shifting into the big cog at the front, and there seemed to be unusual cable stretch. I meant to look at it it when I was at home but forgot...lesson learned the hard way it is not as if it is hard to change a cable.
The cable was old...I'd guess 20,000k. What is the life expectancy of a cable? I certainly am not complaining about 20,000k...but again I have to be fair and say a bit more preventative maintenance could have avoided the whole thing
I really haven't got a clue on the life expectancy but from what I have read about what others do I decided to go with a preventative 10,000 km strategy, i.e., just replace my cables at the 10,000 km mark. No idea if this is over the top or not but by your experience it probably is.
Yes I've been thinking that 10,000k or annually (should be about the same for me) is a good strategy in future. It is not as if they are expensive!
Had a similar commute where the spring in the real deraileur broke very early on the return trip home. This meant that the thing rode up to the largest and lowest gear. That was a slow trip too. Once again i could have done something to jury rig it in place but when you're on the way home, and it's getting dark, you really don't want to muck around too much.
Don't get much warning with a broken spring though.
Without any mishaps, it takes me an hour and a half to get to work. Then add twenty minutes for my coffee stop. Add some more if I choose to go slow.
On the way home? About 100 minutes and counting.
And the average speed is not mch over 10kph by the odometer. Calculating by elapsed time takes it welldown into single digits - say, 8kph.
Unchain yourself - Ride a unicycle .
I would have thought every 10 years is fine. I have a bike that is 11 years old and probably done 25,000km that still has its original rear derailleur cable. (The front cable got replaced with the front derailleur and is in worse condition thanks to the cheap replacement cable.) Brake cables are 11 years old and still good.
Good quality cables should and do last decades with only a little bit of care. (Though for the price of a brake cable I can see why you would replace them conservatively.)
Hmmm, I do about 10,000 k annually so I think that I could get away with every 2 year for a front Derailleur cable to be honest, but the rear derailleur cable really is an annual replacement thing. Of course I change between the various cogs of the rear cluster many many many more times per ride than I change between rings on the front. (I have replaced the rear cable annually for the last couple of years when it was starting to actualy fray and reduce gear changing efficiency).
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