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Friday poll: Bicycle mishaps that have left you stranded(48 posts)

Friday poll: Bicycle mishaps that have left you strandedKen of Fresno
Nov 22, 2002 12:18 AM
What sorts of calamities have you encountered that, for one reason or another, left you facing either a long walk or a wait for a ride home?

I'll share one strange thing that happened when I was about 13 years old. I was returning from a fairly short ride and was about 5 or 6 miles from home. While pedaling along quite happily on my department store 10 speed (it really did have ten speeds) the rear wheel suddenly locked up, and I skidded to a stop. At the same time, I noticed a small black circular object shoot out in front of me and roll into the tall grass and bushes that lined the edge of the road. I got off and started to inspect the bike. It took me a while to realize that that little black disk that rolled away was actually one of my derailer pulleys. I must have searched for that thing for half an hour. No luck. It's probably still sitting there buried in a bunch of weeds by the side of the road. There were no phones around, so I had to drag the bike home. Man, was I bummed. It was after that when I started thinking about upgrading and carrying tools and stuff. No, I don't carry spare derailer pulleys with me now, but I do make sure they're tight from time to time.

Care to share?
re: Friday poll: Bicycle mishaps that have left you strandedxxl
Nov 22, 2002 2:06 AM
Stranded? Don't you guys just radio the team car, and have 'em get you a new bike? ;)

Seriously, other than the usual flats-while-forgetting-the-spares bit, and of course crashes (which are their own category of mishap), my most memorable "mechanical" was when a freewheel (yeah, dating myself) just fell apart, into lots of little pieces. Of course, we were ten miles into a week-long tour, and who carries a spare freewheel with them? We ended up talking some kid that had ridden by into selling us the freewheel off his K-mart crapster (hey, it's all Shimano). The weird thing was, we had to go with the kid to his house, and convince his father that we knew what we were doing, and that he could buy a replacement freewheel with the money we gave him. Dad was cool with that, but insisted we up our offering price ten bucks, "for his troubles."
here are a couple...tremblay
Nov 22, 2002 2:55 AM
When I was kid, probably around ten years of age, I had a kuwahara BMX bike. Well, my sister and I were riding to a friend's house, and each time I pulled up on the handlebars (you know how children like to pop up the front wheel), I could hear a rattle. That was odd, I thought. So I did it again, and told my older sister that this was bizarre. Well, of course I do it again, and the whole front wheel just flies off my bike, with me slamming into the pavement front fork first. Great, I thought.

I, being a kid and not having tools to put the wheel on and tighten the axle bolts, had to carry the bike and the front wheel all the way to my destination. Thankfully it wasn't too far, but far enough to annoy me.

Second time I was stranded was over a year ago when a bolt got lodged in my tire and gave me a flat. Stupid me on my mountain bike didn't have any tubes. I had to call my father and beg him to come help me out. These days I won't ride my road bike without tubes and a pump. I just won't risk it.
Wheel Bearings....Alexx
Nov 22, 2002 4:30 AM
Well, I have an old set of Campy Record wheels, circa early-70's, and I use them for training. One day, I overhauled the front hub, and noticed that the cones needed to be replaced. Went down to the LBS, and they gave me a new set of cones.
I should've noticed that the cones were not exactly right. t did take a lot of futzing around to get the wheels to spin properly, but I though that perhaps the new bearings just needed to seat in, so I went for a ride.
I was on my local canal-side MUT, at just about the farthest point from a telephone when the hub shot all the bearings across the trail, and I came to a quick, grinding halt. Front wheel was undriveable, had no lock on bike, and wearing look cleats, to boot!
I carried that bike on my shoulder, clopping along the trail for a mile, to the nearest phone. A $15 cab ride got me and the bike back home.
re: Friday poll: Bicycle mishaps that have left you strandedSpunout
Nov 22, 2002 4:49 AM
When a junior, I Bonked on a 150 km ride, about 90 km into it. I was on a country road, no traffic, no food. Slept in the ditch for awhile to re-charge, then limped to my destination. Fun solo ride!
once forgot to buy tires & tubes for a bike-buildSpirito
Nov 22, 2002 5:20 AM
was due to ride the next day upstate with a few friends and we were to leave early the next morning.

i had always questioned why UPS overnight delivery costs so much but had no option as no LBS carried the tires i wanted.

am now in the habit of ordering every part UPS overnight one piece at a time ..........

i wonder what FEDEX have to offer.


p.s. it's friday
hey spirito - are you asking yourself...Fez
Nov 22, 2002 5:54 AM
what can brown do for you?
I should be getting a "delivery" from UPS today....eyebob
Nov 22, 2002 6:21 AM
I can't wait! (Brrrrrzzzzpfffffppppt.....the sound I make when I turn into Cornholio)

Thank you spirito
Wow...all of our UPS delivery peoplePaulCL
Nov 22, 2002 6:22 AM
wear the same hat, but don't look like that!

"What can brown do for you?" If I answered, I'd be in divorce court. Or, in jail 'cause that girl doesn't look legal. (For just a moment, take your eyes up north to her face, she looks about 15)
The correct answer is...Fez
Nov 22, 2002 6:57 AM
She's 18. That's always the correct answer.

But seriously, you are correct Paul.

And you are probably the first person to actually look at her face.
Hey I worked for the Brownies...Lone Gunman
Nov 22, 2002 7:13 PM
And NONE of the delivery chicks looked like her. One I worked with picked up a set of 4 mounted and wrapped car wheels and tires and carried them up a flight of steps. She pulled out a Camel filterless and fired it up afterward. She could go bear hunting with a stick.
where did you find that photo?? (nm)mlester
Nov 22, 2002 6:24 AM
Whats in the brown box?longfellow68
Nov 22, 2002 6:32 AM
Says "creme" on the side...
good thinking, inside the box.....nm128
Nov 22, 2002 6:40 AM
which box are you talking about? nmFez
Nov 22, 2002 6:58 AM
Frankly, I don't get it.djg
Nov 22, 2002 6:50 AM
How does ordering overnight express make the packages show up more frequently?

You should save your money for something else. Like candy.
Not even once in awhile?? :. (128
Nov 22, 2002 6:59 AM
sorry. Cheap shot.
How do you know that her name is Candy? nmSpunout
Nov 22, 2002 8:08 AM
Spirito, I tried to take the FedEx bait........Dave Hickey
Nov 22, 2002 9:05 AM
But after doing an unfiltered Google image search for the last two hours, I've come up empty. I guess our lawyers surf more than I do:-). My hat's off to you, I cannot counter your UPS girl.
thank the lord ......Spirito
Nov 22, 2002 11:07 AM
for a second i thought perhaps i may have tempted you to cut and paste a bearded head atop that body ....

well spotted - twas bait :-)

enjoy your w/end

re: Friday poll: Bicycle mishaps that have left you strandedtarwheel
Nov 22, 2002 6:12 AM
1. Broken seat post binder bolt when I stopped to adjust my saddle. Called my wife to come pick me up. Always carry a spare now.
2. Broken "permalink" on Campy 10 chain. Driven home by a cyclist passing by in a Chevy Tahoe. Carry a spare Connex link now.
3. Almost stranded first time I flatted carrying CO2 cartridges rather than a pump. Found out very quickly that one cartridge is not enough to find leak and fix flat. Fortunately I was carrying a presta/schrader adapter and was able to refill tire from a compressor at a nearby shop. Carry 3 CO2 cartridges now and a spare tube.
Nov 22, 2002 6:23 AM
I broke a bolt on an older seatpost where it secured the actual seat to the post. Had to ride home standing with the seat post an saddle in the back of my jersey. I never would have thought that I could break something like that on a road bike. Well it was a cheap seat post.....
re: Friday poll: Bicycle mishaps that have left you strandedtheeatkins
Nov 22, 2002 6:13 AM
During the summer months, there is a Tuesday evening ride that leaves from a LBS. My first time riding with this
group was not a good one. It started with 12 riders and the plan was to do about 30 miles before dusk. I more or
less paired up with a 45 year old triathlete wanna be. He had good equipment so I didn't anticipate any problems.
( I have a personal policy - NO ONE gets left behind ) At about mile 20, he suck up the chain and put a kink in it. The
ride was over for him as the chain wouldn't stay on. I stayed with him to try and see what could be done. Not one
person stayed with us from the group. He got on his cell phone and called the local Home Depot. Come to find out
he was the area manager. Fifteen minutes later we had a flat bed truck at our disposal. The driver took us back to
the LBS. The other rider went home and I had a long discussion with the owner of the LBS. The problem of being
left behind has never happened since.
wow... that's a good onelonefrontranger
Nov 22, 2002 8:10 AM
I've had my share of misfortunes, both self- inflicted and those that I call acts of God. The most memorable have actually been offroad ones.

Once I broke a seatpin in a MTB race, finished standing up with my saddle / seatpost bungeed to my Camelbak. The only saving grace was I didn't finish DFL but I could barely walk for four days afterwards.

Once while racing my 'cross bike at a local MTB event, I ripped a cassette body apart; then I did a classic dumb stunt and removed the rear wheel without keeping track of all the bits. The lockring promptly flew off into the weeds and I said a number of impolite words. I had been leading up to that point and had to run / stagger the rest of the last lap and lost what seemed like about fifty places. The promoter of that race was so impressed I didn't bag it he gave me a prize just for finishing.

The most brutal and uncool was when I blew a crankarm off way out in the back of beyond on a MTB death cruise. Having to scooter and/or ride 12 hilly rough miles of trail back to the car one-legged really, really sucks.

I've had dumb stuff happen like my bars coming loose in a TT (really annoying) but I never been stranded by mechanicals on the road, thank goodness. I have bailed out due to weather or fatigue and called my SO to come fetch me on occasion but that's merely the limitations of my own body and mind. Had I been forced to, I could have made it home in those instances, I just really, really didn't want to try.
broken wheel in a lightening stormPaulCL
Nov 22, 2002 6:19 AM
Riding with a buddy. Started to rain. Started to rain harder. Then harder. Deluge. Lightening. Lots of fun. So we hightailed it to the nearest little town. Believe it or not the town is called Rabbit Hash, Kentucky. While flying through the rain, I hit a puddle. The puddle hid a pothole. I went down with a broken wheel. Stranded in beautiful Rabbit Hash at 6 in the evening and getting dark.

I called my wife who drove the 50 miles to the town, in the dark, with two kids in the backseat. She drove my friend and I up to our cars and the drive home. She was not happy.
Related Poll.eyebob
Nov 22, 2002 6:32 AM
Since I started riding about 7 years ago I've made it a habit to stop whenever I see a cyclist stopped by the side of the road. I stop to see if they need help whether I'm riding or driving. Anyone else do this consistantly? I ask because I'm sort of amazed that when I've had mechanicals or flats that virtually no cars ever stop to ask if I need help. Sometimes you're way way way away from homebase without any great way to get back.


PS I will also stop (where safe) to see if motorists need help if they're stranded.
Will stop for bikes, not for carsms
Nov 22, 2002 8:04 AM
I always ask stopped cyclists if they need help. However, I usually do not stop for cars. My reasons: 1) I actually may be able to help a cyclist -- I would be of no help to a stranded motorist other than to lend him or her my cell phone; 2) there is a well-developed rescue system for stranded cars (e.g., AAA), there is no such system for cyclists; 3) you are never sure who is stopped by the side of the road in a car, I assume that stranded cyclists are not would be criminals looking for their next victim.
re: Friday poll: Bicycle mishaps that have left you strandedKen
Nov 22, 2002 6:40 AM
Two weeks ago on our weekly club ride I had a spoke break in the rear wheel. The rear wheel is a low spoke count boutique wheel and when just one spoke gives out the wheel goes out of true by about 4cm. Enough so that the wheel rubs hard against the chainstay if you try to pedal. I couldn't even adjust the tension of some of the other spokes to at least let me limp back home on the bike because the nipples are located in the rim and you need an odd sized socket wrench to reach them. To add insult to injury I'll have to wait a month before I can get the parts to fix it, because the OBS (online bike shop) doesn't have them in stock. While waiting for the parts I have since gotten a pair of handbuilts. All top of the line parts but easily repairable with parts in ample supply. No more fancy botique wheels for me.
Crank arm fell off at the zenith of a 110 mile ride; hitchhiked.onespeed
Nov 22, 2002 7:05 AM
In Ireland, 3,500 miles from home on a solo tour...Gregory Taylor
Nov 22, 2002 7:11 AM
...I had a derailleur pully eject itself into the bushes. It was the first day of the tour, and I was on a rented bike because my own bike had gone missing in the luggage. I was a good 15 or so miles from the guy that I rented it from, and another 15 miles to any sizable town. It was raining to beat the band, I hadn't slept in 24 hours and, apart from the guy that I rented the bike from, I didn't know a soul in the entire country. Talk about feeling lonely. I removed the derailleur, shortened the chain, and turned it into a single speed. I pedaled that pig to a B&B, where I cleaned up, had a Guinness, and called the rental place. The verdict? Ride it back to the shop and get it replaced....

Oh, I eventually did get my own bike back, but that is another very long story.
Were you on British Airways?ms
Nov 22, 2002 7:57 AM
This summer BA lost the bag with all of my bike clothing and equipment (helmet, shoes, etc.) on the trip between the US and Geneva. I had to wait three days for them to find and deliver it to me. On the way back, BA lost my bike for two days. BA appears to have serious luggage problems at London Heathrow (where I changed planes).
No - Aer LingusGregory Taylor
Nov 22, 2002 10:43 AM
The problem was probably caused by a VERY close schedule on a connecting flight. I flew out of New York, and my plane into JFK was late. I literally ran from gate to gate, with my passport being checked on the fly. Can't do that now, post 9-11. I figure that the bike probably didn't make the flight to Ireland, and that I might have been better off missing that plane.

To give Aer Lingus credit, they sent my bike and gear to me by cab half-way across the freakin' island.

Thanks for the head's up on British Airway's baggage problems. I've signed up to go visit Le Tour this summer, and the cheapest rates to Paris are BA going through London. Maybe not....
Cheap Ratesms
Nov 22, 2002 12:33 PM
I'm in the same boat with you. The cheapest rates from BWI (the airport closest to my house) to Toulouse for July are on British Airways. If I can get a transfer through London Gatwick rather than Heathrow, I may take the chance on BA. In the min-1990s I flew through Gatwick several times without incident. Otherwise, I thinking of taking Air France from Washington Dulles through Paris (CDG) even though the price is a little higher.
Are you using a tour company?Gregory Taylor
Nov 22, 2002 1:44 PM
I booked this week with Graham Baxter Tours -- I'm doing the L'Etape du Tour. The Air France flights from Dulles look so tempting - no stops.
Nov 25, 2002 9:07 AM
I have a place to stay near Pau for the days prior to the Etape (obtained with the assistance of Philippe C). The friend with whom I am traveling has relatives (by marriage) near Toulouse and we are going to stay with them for a few days. The rest still is in the planning stages.
My bike got run over....hit & runbent_spoke
Nov 22, 2002 7:43 AM
I was 11 or 12 and delivery newspapers around 6:00am. I left my bike at the curb & went up to drop a paper off. I'm on the doorstep when I hear the "bike getting run over noise" & I start to run back to my bike. The guy who ran it over, stops momentarily & then takes off (what a jerk!). Anyway I'm left to haul the bike & paper sack back home. Luckily, it was less than 1mi since the old
JC Higgins weighed a ton (circa 1960s).
This happened recently....joekm
Nov 22, 2002 8:09 AM
I was trying out a new route with lots of climbing (something I've been working on). Anyway, I have my map with me and have to periodically stop to review the route. I make a wrong turn at one point but a fellow bicyclist I run across helps me get back on track (and tells me I will have to carry my bike across a broken bridge a few miles down the road). Anyway, I'm back on track going at a pretty good clip when I blow my rear tire.


Get of the bike and investigate only to find that what I actually did was slice the sidewall an my brand new GP3000.

....double bugger....

Well, I pop a dollar bill behind the cut, replace the inner tube, and reinstall the tire/ wheel. I then go to grab my frame pump.

.....[explicative deleted].....

Apparantly, I left without my frame pump. Probably the first time in years that I've forgotten to bring it with me on a solo ride. Oh well, at least I had my cell phone. I call my wife and tell her that I'm about 20-25 miles from home but there is a WaWa a few miles away and ask if she can pick me and my bike up. Good thing I took that wrong turn because that is where I ran across the cyclist that gave me directions.

So, not wanting to damge my rims, I carry my bike and start walking to the WaWa. Along the way, another cyclist rides by and notices my situation. He lets me use his frame pump and even knows a shortcut back to the major roads. I call my wife again and tell her I'm mobile again and don't need to be picked up.

Thanks to his help, I make pretty good time getting back. I then patch the inside of my sliced tire and plan to continue to run it in the off season (mostly rollers anyway due to the weather) and replace it before the next season starts in earnest.
only happened onceColnagoFE
Nov 22, 2002 8:20 AM
on my steel panasonic road bike. it has a rear u-brake (yuck). The cable snapped on the brake and locked up the wheel making the bike unridable. I tried clamping the brake open with a piece of wire i found but it broke about a block later and I had to walk it home. Luckily I was only about a mile away.
A 4cm stone, 120 psi, and 4 empty C02 Carts.Kristin
Nov 22, 2002 8:49 AM
My favorite RBR Quote: Short ride = long walk in funny shoes.
My recent stupidityKenS
Nov 22, 2002 9:18 AM
I bought my bike from an ad in the RBR classifieds. It had been sitting in a garage unused for a couple of years. Completing the deal seemed to take forever because USPS misdelivered my certified check to some unrelated business (and the postal person didn't get a signature as required). I finally got the bike, quickly assembled it, did a quick lube job, and took off for a test ride. Ten miles from my car I flatted. I looked at the tire and it had a serious case of dry rot. There was a crack that went about a quarter of the circumference of the wheel. In the middle of nowhere, I walked about a mile to get to the next house to make a phone call for help.
Frame pump in rear wheelWise
Nov 22, 2002 9:29 AM
reached down for my water as I was passing by the Carnation farm in the Snoqualmie Valley last summer and knocked my zefal hpx pump into the spokes of a new wheel I had just built myself a few weeks earlier. It locked up my rear wheel and I skidded to a halt, managing to stay on the shoulder but scaring the hell out of the mini-van coming up to pass me. I had a spoke wrench w/me, fixed the wobble and rode home. The pump was completely wasted, bent against the seat stay at a 90 degree angle.. I folded it some more and stuffed it in my jersey pocket to save as a souvenir.

A few days later, of course, I snapped a spoke and was stranded on the side of the road, fortunately just a few miles from my home. Sat on the side of the road for a while wondering if it was safe to ride home and a yahoo gaggle of bikers in assorted pro team jerseys pulls up and asks if they can help me fix my flat (?) Well, only if someone is carrying a spare 285 mm spoke. Anyway, one of them had a cell phone and let me call for ride.

Could have been worse! After that experience, i've ditched the frame pump and carry CO2
stranded once_rt_
Nov 22, 2002 10:03 AM
the only time i have truely been stranded was the last day of my first season mountain biking. i was coming down the trail on my way to meet friends when i endoed about 100m from the bottom. as i flew over the bars i thought 'shi...'and landed with a dull cracking thunk on my left wrist and hip in a rock garden. 1 broken scaffoid & 1 shattered iliac crest later i was carried off the hill by a mtn patrol guy on a 4-wheeler (see, they're good for something) and hopped around for 45 min. looking for someone to drive me to the ER (i drive stick and couldn't drive for about 8 weeks) and then back to my apt 75 miles to the south.


Broken Chain ...bsdc
Nov 22, 2002 10:47 AM
... and no chain tool. "Never leave home without it!"
Ran over storm grate at 25mphDaveG
Nov 22, 2002 11:27 AM
Hit one of those wheel trapping storm grates coming down a hill. There was a lot of sun glare and the grate was obscured there right as I went into a shaded area under a railroad bridge. I went partially airborne and skidded off the road into some tall weeds. Both wheels destroyed. Had to walk about a mile to find a phone. Not much you can do about that
re: Friday poll: Bicycle mishaps that have left you strandedaliensporebomb
Nov 22, 2002 12:56 PM
Two notable examples:

I did my first century with several friends on a
borrowed bike, having not ridden that season at all,
and I was really out of shape, brought no food or
water either. Idiotic behavior really. We impulsively
said "century ride, today, starting NOW!"

The friends were Doug who was in fabulous shape and he
was fresh off RAGBRAI, the other two were my friend Mike
and his ex-girlfriend Margie. Neither had ridden all

Besides Doug, only Mike had a bike that had been maintained.
The bike I rode was in really bad shape and needed a good
overhaul. But it was rideable.

The bike Margie rode had special wonderful fitness
enhancing features - the rear brake shoe was slightly
engaged at all times. But she didn't know it not being
mechanically inclined and also not really being a cyclist.

She just thought "all bikes were this hard to pedal."

About fifty to sixty miles in Margie had to abandon because she
said "this bike is just too hard to pedal". We finally realized
she'd ridden that far with a partially engaged
brake shoe.

I give her a lot of credit for sticking with us that long.

I decided to be gallant and let the lady have the better
bike. Sigh.

We swapped bikes and she was "this is more like it" and
was able to head back since she was already in severe pain
and we tried to figure out what to do about the bike I was now
stuck with.

We were going to move onwards but there was literally no way
to get that brake movable or useable so we REMOVED the rear
brake assembly from the bike.

Did I mention that the bike was too large for me too?

Let me tell you, towards the end of that ride I bonked so
bad I needed to be TOWED by a recumbent by tying two
shoelaces together. I was so RUINED. I actually typed up
the story in a word document and someday I'll put it on the

I learned a lot from that ride.

Second mishap:

I was mountain biking at Hidden Valley recreation area in
Ely, Minnesota which is situated in a park next to downhill
ski area and you can ride into the ski area.

At one point towards the end of the ride we started hearing
GUNSHOTS. We yelled out loud "we're not deer" and the
gunshots increased in frequency and we kept low.

I started to ride for the exit to the park when I rode over
a small twig.

Which promptly leapt up into my rear derailleur and as I
pedaled PRETZELED the derailleur then DISINTEGRATED into
wood dust. And the frame was bent.

My friend and I just stared at my bike, gaping.

(1) I had an unpedalable bike
(2) I had a pretzelled derailleur
(3) We were being shot at by hunters
(4) We couldn't use a chain tool to make it a singlespeed
because of (3)

Finally I say - we're right near the exit, we'll just COAST
down the mountain and be done with it.

I must have been going 30+ miles an hour down a grassy hill
with no visible trail in front of me with no way to brake
without stopping my momentum with gunshots echoing all
around me. It was a huge adrenalin rush for sure.

We managed to get to the car and headed to a restaurant in
town and found out the reason for the gunshots - the
waitress said "Oh! Bears have been intruding near peoples
homes and causing a problem and there's a special permit
to let people hunt these excess bears...."

Great! Shot at on one side and potential visits by large
brown or grizzly bears.

My bike was repaired and it's still good today but it
doesn't have a replaceable derailleur hanger so if a
similar event happens it's new bike for Todd time.
re: Friday poll: Bicycle mishaps that have left you strandedbenja15
Nov 22, 2002 8:56 PM
Front tire exploded... yes exploded and sounded like a gunshot- there was even a brick wall next to me that reflected the sound back. About 12 miles from home. luckily we found a house nearby to call for a ride
1- patch kit, 1-tube, 2- flats, 1-CO-2 cartridge. nmJuanmoretime
Nov 23, 2002 4:07 AM
Hit and run by a deergrzy
Nov 25, 2002 12:41 PM
Fortunately it was only a 50 yard walk home - wifey was trying very hard not to laugh at me.

Going down at 50 mph on the Markleeville Death Ride and winding up in a strange hospital naked, drugged with no money or a ride home.

Snapping the rear deraileur off the MTB on more than one occasion and having to do the McGuiver thing and turn the bike into the world's most expensive single speed.

Smacking a tree on the MTB deep in the woods and getting hauled to the ER on a back board in a 4x4 ambulance.

Bonking on a long ride in the middle of nowhere and being saved by a Coke machine that took dollar bills at a gas station that was closed for the night.

I tend to carry a decent collection of tools, money, credit card, insurance info, and a cell phone now and try to avoid riding alone. My buds give me a certain amount of crap until they need my assistance. Heck, it's all part of the adventure in my mind.