Lockdown cycle repair

Sun, Apr 5, 2020

Lockdown cycle repair

Being confined to the local area, working from home and avoiding social contact (hoorah on that one!), I had plenty time, like all day, to work on the bike.

Cycling back from work a few weeks ago the gear cable broke and with only two chainrings I was stuck in a fairly high gear. Ideally I should have a spare with me but I didn’t and it would have been a moot point as it turned out. Back at the house, after a lot of standing on pedals and pushing up to 200m on the high road, I decided to take the chain off and give the rear derailleur a good going over as it was very very stiff. Unfortunately, I made a hash of the chain pin, normally leaving part of it in for easier re-assembly but it popped out and to cut a long story short, I needed a new chain (it was several years old anyway). Then the wheel wouldn’t come off. Turned out the skewer was welded to the inside of the axle. Never seen that before. I think it had just been too tight over the winter and was now useless. An overnight soak in WD40 and a bash with a hammer and nail but it wasn’t for moving. A new axle required and while I was at it, I thought, might as well get a new cassette to go with the new chain.

So the upside is, after a day of greasing bearings, sorting tensions, chain-joining, cable replacing (the outer too, which split!) and skewer replacement, the old knees are singing with joy as I’ve gone from the original Tiagra CS-4600 12-30T to a shiny new Tiagra CS-HG500-10 11-34T. A slightly higher high gear but more importantly a noticeably lower bottom gear. The extra 4 teeth really do make a difference at that end, especially on the hills, or should that be mountains, round here.

Cycling in winter is good for the old health, physical as well as mental but not so good for the bike. It’s actually fine cycling in the snow. The problems start when the roads are gritted and that toxic brown sludge forms which eats components. But the bike’s drivetrain is showroom new (apart from the chainrings which are fine), ready for the daily exercise over the hill.