Skip to content

bike 101: beware of loose and dangly things

October 29, 2010

Friday Tweed

This picture was taken last week. Shortly thereafter, that beautiful teal pashmina around my neck went from my bike basket – where I thought I had it securely stowed – to the clutches of my bike chain. I would have thought myself above such rookie mistakes, but since I wasn’t, here is my tip to you: beware of putting loose and dangly things into your bike basket because they could potentially wind up tightly coiled around your bike chain.

The problem was that I hit some bumps and, before I knew it, my pashmina bounced out a few inches each time and got sucked into the chain despite the chain guard over it. Fortunately, I was riding slowly enough that I didn’t come to too abrupt of a stop. There was no chance of falling, I just slowed to a halt. And this is what I saw…

Another cyclist was kind enough to stop and help me out; while he slowly pushed my bike backward, I pulled and unwound the the scarf from the chain. It took a while, but eventually, very slowly and carefully, I got the entire scarf out. Thank you, kind cyclist, who stopped and helped!

Sadly, this mistake cost me some ramifications. (And I don’t just mean the ruining of my pashmina). The second gear, in which I was at the time of this incident, is no longer working. And I’ve been told that old three-speed hubs are very difficult to fix so I’m not sure how this problem will get resolved. For now, I’ve been riding in either the first or the third gear.

Let my foolishness be a lesson to you: if you ride with anything long and loose in your basket, make sure to either secure it within a bag, use a bungee or something of the likes to secure it in place, or use a basket cover to keep it from bouncing out. But I’m sure you already knew that. As for me, it seems that I’m still learning the basics here.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2010 05:26

    Oohh, that’s so sad (on both counts)! Are you unable to shift into 2nd gear at all? If it won’t move into the gear at all, I’m betting that it’s the shifter cable that just needs to be adjusted. You might give that a try (if you haven’t) to see if that will resolve the issue.

    As for losing things off the rear of a bicycle, sadly I’ve been there. During the summer I rode my bicycle with several packages attached to my rear rack, bound for UPS. When I arrived in the parking lot and dismounted, my packages had disappeared. Ugh! So frustrating. I had to retrace my steps, and, fortunately, I was able to locate all of them strewn about the highway. Needless to say, I learned to bungee things much tighter since that little incident. :)

    • October 29, 2010 14:08

      G.E. – I can shift into it but once I’m in it, it feels like I’m constantly popping in and out of the gear. I’m not sure how to explain it, but it doesn’t stay in gear, and it’s really frustrating because the guys at the bike shop made it sound like it would be a difficult (and possibly costly) fix. :(

      • October 29, 2010 14:57

        By far the most likely culprit is the shifter, not the hub.

        Check to make sure the wheel is centered on the frame–the pashima could have caused enough force to move the wheel around in the dropouts.

        Unscrew the attachment bolt for the shifter from the chain into the hub, and (get T to help) use your hand provide the tension to shift the hub through all 3 gears. 1st and 3rd are easiest to find, but if you have the rear wheel off the ground and someone else moving the pedals, you should be able to find second in between the two–there’s a noticeable difference in pedaling resistance between all 3 (a 33% difference, in fact). If you can find 2nd and get it to hold in 2nd that way, that definitely indicates a shifter tension issue and not the hub.

      • October 29, 2010 17:06

        Thanks so much, N! Will do that because the pashmina DID shift the wheel. When I got home with the bike (by car, had to have T pick me and the bike up because it wasn’t rideable after this incident), we noticed that the back wheel was rubbing and way off center. T. moved it back and we thought that fixed it, but then I rode it and noticed that the second gear was no longer working. So maybe the wheel is still not centered? It would be wonderful if I didn’t mess up the hub because I had already decided to replace my wheels with aluminum ones and was going to get custom built ones using my existing hub. But if I ruined the hub, then I don’t want to build it into new wheels.

      • October 29, 2010 17:38

        Yeah, I second the idea about checking to make sure the shift cable is adjusted properly – let me see if I can find the document I have about how to tell when it is properly adjusted –

        basically there is a pin that screws into the hub that has that little piece of chain attached to it that sticks out the right side (as in your photo up there). You want it tightened (by using the adjuster and locknut at the end of the chain) so that the end of the pin where the chain is attached is just visible outside the hub through the nut with a hole in it, when the shifter is in 2nd gear.

        I’ll see if I can find the document and I’ll email it to you if I find it.

      • October 29, 2010 18:40

        Side note: if you’re building up new wheels, I would ditch the old hub and get a new SRF3. Not because it’s old and busted, but the new design eliminates the balky downshift in the AW design. You could even do the SRD3 and rock the drum brakes! I know you’re on a budget, but if you’re springing for a new wheelset anyways, treat yourself to a better design.

        I bought the Velo Orange AW wheelset, and now regret not springing for a SRF3 wheelset every day when I have to do the following contradictory action when crossing an intersection: stop pedaling to downshift so I can speed up.

  2. October 29, 2010 10:07

    Thank you for the tip!
    Sometimes we don’t think about this sort of problems…
    I’m glad you didn’t get hurt.

  3. dedhed permalink
    October 29, 2010 13:47

    During a spring downpour I couldn’t tell the potholes when they were full of water, hit one and the bungee unhooked from my rack. It went into the freewheel/chain and stopped me dead before I even knew what happened. Fortunately no damage, but 10 min in the pouring rain extracting it so I could continue home.

    AW hubs aren’t as complicated as most people think, and most parts are readily available. Any decent shop (especially with an old guy) should be able to sort it out if you cannot.
    Other wise there are plenty of them out there (think old Schwinn) jusat swap a different set of internals into your shell. Or maybe now is the time to do the Al rim on the back?

    and of course Sheldon Brown

  4. October 29, 2010 16:27

    Oh no! Poor bike. Poor Pashmina. Sometimes we have to suffer for fashion, I guess.

  5. October 30, 2010 13:07

    Ohhhh…so glad you weren’t hurt!

  6. October 31, 2010 04:57

    Yes, loose, dangly clothes are dangerous. Once flipped my bike when going down hill when my very loose t-shirt got caught on the back of my saddle. Luckily, I was wearing a helmet.

    Love the very tweedy outfit, BTW. I’m afraid I can’t pull off the shorts and tights combo but you do it perfectly.


  1. bike 101: adjusting your shifter cable « Simply Bike

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s