This Space for Rent

Chomp! goes the bicycle chain

When I was in the throes of setting up the drivetrain on the MLCM I managed to derail the chain several dozen times. The vast majority of those times were derailed off the crankset, either into the frame or into the pedals, but there were a couple of time where I was trying to wind upgrade where the chain derailed – at a very slow speed – off into the spokes of the rear wheel.

I wasn’t moving fast, so I didn’t fret very much about it, and eventually I worked it out so that the chain wouldn’t derail nearly as much anymore (by moving to a chainguard+chainring, plus – alas – ditching the biopace for circular chainrings so the chain wouldn’t pulsate so much.) But when I was on my way home this afternoon, I heard a metallic ping as if I’d ridden over something that got hurled up against the frame of the bicycle, and then, after hustling up Division St to i205, I started to notice a bit of a pulsing in my rear brake as if it was going out of true. And, finally, when I turned off onto the i205 path, I started to hear a little tick tick tick coming from the rear wheel.

Every other time I’d heard a ticking from the rear wheel it meant that I’d picked up a staple, nail, or other sharp pointy object that was engaged in the slow process of burrowing through my tire to reach the soft underbelly of the inner tube. So I ground to a stop, rolled the MLCM onto its side, and looked at the wheel.

No nails, no staples, but I did notice that one of the driveside spokes had snapped off about a inch away from the head. So I wound the long part of the spoke around a couple of other spokes and continued on towards home. When I got home, I pulled the rear wheel, extracted the offending spoke, replaced it (with, alas, a spare front spoke, which is about 3 threads too short. I have a bicycle with a disc brake generator hub, so each side of each wheel uses a different spoke length), then realized that every other driveside spoke had gouges in it where they’d been chomped by the chain.

So I’ll probably need to trot off to the LBS and get them to rebuild that wheel (or just to pull a spoke, measure it, and buy a handful of replacements and rebuild the wheel by myself. It looks like it’d cost about $30 to have the wheel trued (and the spokes replaced), so if that included spoke cost it would be a better deal than doing it myself, but if it was $30 plus spokes it’d be a lot cheaper to do it by myself.)