I'd planned with Bicycle Tim and Benny to go for a ride on Saturday morning and for some reason was really looking forward to riding the Bianchi. After commuting on the Crosscheck all week the red racer makes a nice change of pace, so I was up early, switching the lightweight tyres for something more durable before I put the bike in the car for the quick trip into town.
Once there and unloaded, it only took a dozen pedal strokes to realise something was badly wrong with the gears. The right brifter was all, well mushy, and the gears at first changed sluggishly and then jammed. Bugger. It didn't take long to figure out the rear gear cable had snapped.
I've heard of this happening, but I've never experienced it myself: the cable had broken inside the shifter about an inch from the nipple and my attempts to change gears had only succeeded in winding the frayed remains further inside the mechanism. It looked to me like my plans for a ride were over.
Hoping Tim might arrive shortly with a spare cable (he did!) I unwrapped the double thickness of bar tape and took the lever off. There followed an hour or fiddling with improvised tools before I was finally able to coax the cable end out. Five minutes later, I was good to go, and we had an extremely pleasant 60km ride with a coffee stop in Cygnet.
It was a bastard of a repair job and would have been almost impossible to do by the roadside, almost but not quite enough to drive a man back into the arms of simple, old fashioned and ever-reliable friction shifting. How close must this cable have been to failing during the entire Oppy? It had literally two or three more shifts left in it, finally giving way in the next 200 metres I rode. How lucky was I not to DNF because of a dozen strands of cheap wire? Here's a photo of what is possibly the smallest thing that nearly ruined a Saturday for me:
Guess who will be making a point of inspecting and changing his cables more regularly now? And carrying a spare!
1690km so far this year.
The Unbearable Lightness of Crabon - Did you know what if you buy a frame or bike from Rivendell you get a copy of my book? It's true! And not just because they jammed the spine to ascertai...
18 hours ago