An idiot’s guide to bicycles….

If anyone needs further proof that I am an imbecile when it comes to bicycles, please read on. A couple of weeks ago I noticed an odd clicking sound and feeling coming from my cranks. I assumed it was the bottom bracket and thought that a bearing must have popped out, or something. I mean, bottom brackets have bearings, don’t they? So, seeing as I have neither the tools nor knowhow to investigate the inner workings of my BB, I tried to ignore it until an opportunity came to visit my Bike Pimp for some assistance. I kept cycling as usual, despite the persistent clicking and the feeling that things weren’t quite right “down there. ” Feeling like one of those strange STD ads that seem to be everywhere, I knew I needed a check up, but was continuing with my head buried deeply in the proverbial sand in order to keep my commute commuting. So yesterday, while adjusting my seat height I looked down and noticed, to my horror, that the master link on my chain was snapped on one side. It wasn’t that the link had come undone, it was physically snapped in two. Evidentially I have riding 30 odd kilometers daily with my chain being held tenuously together by good luck and a small piece of steel. Realising that I have been incredibly lucky that the chain hasn’t snapped on my daily commutes, and that I have been riding as normal, getting out of the saddle and pushing hard, I felt a sinking feeling. It’s funny. When I thought it was the bottom bracket playing up, I was happy to ride as usual, but now that I knew that is was the chain itself, I dreaded the cycle home. I left work and stopped in at the closest bike shop, an ubiquitous triathlon styled store specialising in $3000 Orbea bikes and the like. I frantically dashed in, anxious to at least get a new master link so I could make it home. I asked about the link, and the shop guy grumbled something about how many speeds I had. When I replied that I ride a single speed, he scoffed, saying he kept nothing for single speeds. It was as if I had stormed into a Catholic church asking to buy a crucifix to use for my Satanic ritual that evening. I realise that he probably didn’t have any single speed parts, but he didn’t need to be such an arsehole.

I got back on the bike and set off on my commute as normal, well as normally as I could knowing that there was a hairs breadth between a functional and non-functional bike and the possibility of a long walk home, if I avoided the potential injuries that might come with my chain failing at a rather inopportune moment. With luck I made it through the city without incident, but as I came through Carlton and onto the bike path beside the cemetery I felt something give beneath me. Luckily it was just the chain coming off, so I quickly put it back on and aimed for the next bike shop. having already come 10km, i knew if all failed I could always walk home if it came down to it. I made it to Lygon Cycles and dragged my bike inside. When I showed the shop guy what was going on, he looked at me with an expression of combined amazement and bewilderment. “You are riding on this?” he asked. I explained my idea that it had thought it was the bottom bracket. He understood and went out to find a new master link. As it turns out, my chain was a Shimano, and Shimano chains aren’t compatible with master link adaptors, hence the reason why it had snapped. After all of the shop guys had a look and a laugh about my extreme luckiness, they wheeled my wheels out the back to install a new chain for me. It came back a few minutes later with a brand spanking new white chain! I got my first ‘colourway’ without even trying. Thanking the staff profusely for saving my proverbial bacon, I headed back onto the road and continued my journey home. It’s amazing what a difference a complete chain feels. Cruising home with my my new colour co-ordinated bike, I reflected upon my idiocy and sheer stupid luck that I have made it that far. I must once again give “mad props” to the guys at Lygon Cycles for firstly not scoffing at me, and secondly for fixing my steed and making me look cool. I suppose I will have to get a pair of canvas Vans to complete the look now.


So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Further proof that I am indeed a fool when it comes to bicycles.


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