Oh dear. #fixed

Sep.12, 2009, filed under Cycling, Miscellany

The architecture of our apartment block is such that it’s a veritable wind tunnel out there in anything more than a Force 1 on the Beaufort scale. As today is relatively still and bright I decided to wash the bikes. If it were anything other than a wind tunnel out there, I’d have been doing something much more fun.

Washing any more than two bikes at any given time is just awful. Today Shackleton (the commuter fixed-gear Il Pompino) and Peregrine (the race bike) were top of the list. Shackleton because he is out nearly every day and Peregrine because it’s the end of the season and he hasn’t had a wash since before the Galway Tri.

People accuse me of mollycoddling my bikes. So clean are they I have heard the sentiment expressed that I don’t ride them. Well, the reason I mollycoddle them is not just because I love them as much as Marek loves Mr Schitzer but because it enables me to identify maintenance issues earlier rather than later.

Which leads me to this:

Sharp teeth
For comparison

Both pictures show an EAI alloy sprocket. The top one should have 16 teeth. It has 13 teeth because three of them have snapped off. The rest of the teeth are a bit — understatement — worn. It has done 17000km, so this is not surprising. For comparison’s sake, the bottom photo shows a 17t sprocket that resides on the flip side of my hub and has been used once, to my recollection.

I confess to a bit of a stomach lurch when I saw that. Doing 160rpm down a hill is not the time for the chain to leap off and jam because there are insufficient teeth to hold it on the sprocket, and 160rpm is by no means unusual for me on my commute, especially on the way home. That could have ended in tears. Not to mention experimental use of the face as an additional ablative braking surface.

However, it didn’t, and because I mollycoddle my bikes I discovered the failure before it caused serious damage. An order has been placed with Will at HubJub and in the meantime I shall fetch Blackbird out from her spot in the corner.

Peregrine, incidentally, is now exceptionally shiny. Despite having been part of my stable for around 6 years, he continues to take my breath away. People who don’t love bicycles don’t know what they are missing.

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