Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
Apparently a lot of cyclists experience crazy calamities like Mike who shared his stick in the wheel disaster last week: https://www.roadbikerider.com/mikes-wheel-collapse/. We received some great comments on the subject and I heard some good stories on Facebook.
But the best one so far came in via email from Russ Wood, AKA DangerRuss (how appropriate!). He’s General Manager of Mike’s Bikes of Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, California where the streets are packed with pedalers. Russ’s photos and story are another lesson in what can go horribly wrong.
Given your article on wheel deconstruction in the ‘RoadBikeRider’ newsletter I thought you might be interested in what a plastic bag can do.
Please see the attached pictures.
I was in the final miles of a local century when a lightweight plastic bag blew under my bike and got caught up in the chain and rear derailleur. Fortunately, I was moving slowly and was not injured in any way.
My bike however was a different story. The bag bent the rear derailleur into the wheel taking out all of the carbon drive-side spokes on my Hunt wheel. The chain was also tweaked and unusable.
Miraculously, this story has a happy ending.
As I was standing there (dumbfounded) looking at my bike, a gentleman came up to me and said, “I’ll pay for it.”
At first I did not understand what he meant. He then told me that the bag was his and that it had gotten out of his control and blown under my bike. He felt he was responsible. We exchanged phone numbers and email addresses.
Fortunately, Hunt has an excellent crash replacement warranty and provided a new wheel. This all happened two weeks before I was scheduled to ride Cycle Oregon. Hunt really came through with the wheel and SRAM had all the parts I needed for replacement!
The man then Venmo’ed me the money (over $850) for replacement parts. Lucky for him I work in a bike shop and receive significant discounts. The retail value would have been about $1300!
My faith in humanity was restored by his kind and generous act.
The only thing I can think to add is that now I guess we all need to watch out for blown baggies – and let’s be even more careful about dropping those ziplocks we packed our PB & Js or homemade energy bars in while we’re riding with others! Who knew they could do such damage?!
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. A pro mechanic & cycling writer for more than 40 years, he’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Tune in to Jim’s popular YouTube channel for wheel building & bike repair how-to’s. Jim’s also known for his cycling streak that ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days of never missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s full bio.
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