Emergency Repairs – for when you are stuck in the middle of nowhere

Here are some useful tips we’ve picked up along the way from our own experience, clients and various websites that may help you out in a sticky situation.

Bent or broken Chain ring, Broken Derailleur or Derailleur cable:  Convert your bike into a single speed to get yourself home.  Place the chain on the middle/small chain ring in front and in the middle cog at the rear.  Select the gear that’s most appropriate for your terrain. Shorten the chain by removing the couple of links it’s too long and gently pedal home.

Broken Chain with no chain-tool:  use two rocks, crude at best!   Use one rock to hammer the pin into the next usable link against the second rock.  This will limit your gearing but it will get you home.  Replace with a new chain before your next ride.

Torn Tyre Sidewall: Generally, if you put something between the tube and a tyre you should get home.  You can use anything from a sweet wrapper, paper money to the sandpaper from the tube repair kit, but duct tape is usually best.  Wrap some tape around your tyre lever for just this type of emergency.

Bent rim:  the first step is to see if you have any broken spokes and remove those.  If you cant remove them then twist the broken spoke around the nearest spoke.  Next open up your brakes or release the brake cable for as much clearance as possible.  If that doesn’t get you home, remove the wheel, lean the bent edge against a tree or similar and firmly grip the wheel on both sides of the bend and push it into submission or a vaguely circular shape.  You may need to do this in a ‘quick jarring’ fashion and repeat a few times until it is ready for you to ride home.

The best plan is to always be prepared:

In your back pack, camelbak, saddle bag or tool bottle have the following:

  • pump or air cartridges
  • tube
  • patch kit
  • tyre lever with duct tape wrapped around it
  • chain tool and chain link (or pin) taped to the chain tool
  • 5mm allen key (this should fit most brakes, gears, stem, saddle etc but check before you leave home)
  • energy bar, money, plasters
  • matches or lighter
  • spoke key

The key is to always be prepared even though you won’t need these things 99.9% of the time its the 0.01% you will wish you had.

Here at BMC we offer a Bicycle Maintenance Course evening where we cover anything from basic emergency repairs to complicated advanced repairs.  To find out when the next course is due and book your space, please feel free to contact Kerrythe for details.

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