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Archive for January, 2011

Started an event on Facebook last week where I invited 20+ people to come ride with the WVWC college students during their first week back. About half replied, and a quarter of them were planning on attending. No one showed up. It snowed like crazy two days before, and I guess that killed everyone’s appetite for a ride.

Not me!

I suited up, rode to the meeting point, and waited a whole five minutes longer than I said I would. After that, I scuttled off on my adventurous ride. The route I planned has been ridden by me several times, but never on the cross bike. I didn’t know how it would handle it, or how the snow would affect its maneuverability over rocks, dirt, and mud… For the most part, it rode like a dream. After a very arduous climb, I ended up not having brakes on the way down since the rims and canti’s were coated in ice. Luckily I was able to slow myself down with my foot, and death grip on front and rear shift levers.

At the bottom of the hill, I saw a stray horse. Not knowing much about horses, I didn’t know if I should confront it like a dog, or whether it would attack. Do horses attack people? Bite? Trample? What, anything?

After unsuccessfully wrangling’ up some horses, I went back on the ride. There were many photogenic landscapes and opportunities, but for some reason, this was the only shot I took during the ride:

bike ride in the snow, cyclocross, cross, snow cross

I couldn’t even keep my shadow out of the photo :( I blame using a phone to take such pics…

By this point in the ride, I had been on the bike for almost an hour and a half, and the only part of my body that was cold were my feet, despite the temperature only being 22*F. The sun was coming out, and I knew I still had enough time to have some fun…

Off I went to Gene (Fat Tire Cycle)’s house to see why he didn’t make it to the ride. I didn’t see any vehicles there, so I decided to leave him a little surprise:

cyclocross snow angel

A ‘cross snow angel! I knew he would know it was me, and I thought it would be a funny gesture.

All in all, the ride was very fun, and kept me burning calories, and improving my bike handling skills by leaps and bounds. This is the first year I have really embraced cold weather riding; I’m really wondering why I wasn’t so receptive to it before….?

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Admit it, we have all dropped our chain or overshifted to where we had to get off the bike and put it back on properly. Heck, remember Chaingate 2010 @ the Tour de France? It even happens to the pros.

andy schleck chaingate 2010 tour de france

What I haven’t noticed is that I am becoming more adept at riding and shifting the chain back into place without even thinking. If the chain drops by the bottom bracket, I just shift into my 50t, and pedal slowly until it catches. Recently, since I had to fine tune my bike for trainer-specific riding/shifting, I have had several instances of overshifting the chain out toward the pedal. Very embarassing…

One of the other members of spin class was surprised at how easy it was for me to get it back on the chainrings without hopping off the bike.

There are a ton of places and articles that explain what you need to do when these incidents happen, and Coach Levi says it best:

If your chain drops onto the bottom bracket shell:

If you are pedaling along, shift down to the small chainring, and immediately lose all resistance at the pedals, there’s a good chance that the chain dropped off onto the bottom bracket shell.

If this happens, the first thing you should do is relax! You don’t need to panic or screech to a halt, just roll along.

Begin pedaling easily, and gently shift the front derailleur up like you’re going back to the big ring. Typically this is enough to get the chain back onto the small ring and spinning smoothly. (You don’t want to actually shift the whole way back up to the big ring.)

However, if the chain bunches up, you have a bigger problem…

If your chain digs onto the bottom bracket shell (chainsuck):

If your attempts to shift the chain back onto the chainring fail, it’s probably because the chain got jammed into the bottom bracket shell. When this happens, the chain bunches up and completely jams. This is known as chainsuck.

When this happens, you should stop pedaling! You’ll need to slow to a stop, get off the bike, and lift the chain off the bottom bracket shell and onto the chainring. Sometimes you may need to physically pull the chain out, if it is jammed in there tightly.

If you don’t want to get your hands greasy, take a tire lever and use that to pry the chain free and drop it onto the chainring.

If your chain drops off the big ring onto your foot:

Finally, what do you do if the chain flys off the big ring and ends up hanging outside the crank arm? Or perhaps it ends up on your foot?!

In this case, you gently roll along and use a similar shifting technique, except that now you are shifting down toward the small ring. So you will pedal gently and shift down, hoping the chain comes back up and over to the big ring.

This actually happened to me in the inaugural Tour de Susquehanna. I shifted the chain right off onto my foot! I had to slow down quite a bit, but by some stroke of luck, I was able to unclip my foot and lift the chain slightly (with my foot,) then it shifted back into place!

It won’t always work that well, but it’s worth a shot.

It’s the little things like this that are sometimes difficult to teach another person, because you just learn to adapt and overcome while out on the road.

Are there any other instances or types of errors that you fix without even thinking about anymore? If so, let me know in the comments!

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