This Space for Rent

Interesting bicycle component failure of the day

I was wandering around on the Boring lava field this afternoon when the mlcm started to make funny hiccupping sounds. I couldn’t exactly place where the sounds were coming from, except that they were coming from underneath me and only happened when I pedaled. As I proceeded along (and generally towards home, but not directly, because it was a nice day and the hiccups weren’t all that urgent-sounding) I walked through all of the things I’d done to the bicycle recently and decided that I’d take a close look at the pedals (which I’d repacked earlier in the week because it had been a year since the last servicing and I was fretful about the state of the grease given what happened to the lubrication on the other chain after the three capes loop) and service them if necessary.

As I got closer to home, the hiccupping became more enthusiastic and more frequent, and by the time I’d gotten to a mile away I was beginning to get a little bit concerned because now whenever I’d try to accelerate smartly away from stops the chain would leap off the chainring, lean over against the chainguard, and skate along the top of the teeth until I poked it over into the valleys between the teeth.

When I finally came in the door, I started walking through the list of things that needed to be checked. This chain had been lubricated with a heavy(ish) machine oil instead of the chain-L, so it had spat out a lot of sticky blackish goop, and the first thing was to wipe down the chain, which happened without incident except for occasional tugs as I drew the chain through the rag I was usingto wipe it. And then I spun the chain through the mechanism to see if there were any stiff links on this used-for-2000+-miles-and-still-not-stretched chain. No stiff links, but it looked like the chain was hopping occasionally as it passed over the chainring.

So I looked carefully at it as it went through, found a hopping link, and took a closer look:

Chain failure

Oh. I guess that’s time to pull last week’s chain out of the drip area and put it back into service (just in time for tomorrow’s R200 in the rain) and put this one aside as an emergency chain.

I’m just glad it didn’t start misbehaving 100 miles away from Portland.