Equipment failure: Bail? Or continue?

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009
By Yokota Fritz

I was seven miles into my 25 mile lunch ride along the Bay. I downshifted as I started up a hill; the brifter went "clickclickclick" but there was, oddly, no resistance. I looked back at my rear dérailleur and it was in its smallest cog. I tugged at the dérailleur cable and that's when the housing popped out of the brifter with the frayed cable poking out. Drat.

I'm riding northeast and I have 10-15 mph winds out of the north along the Bay, with rolling hills. Do I continue my ride, pushing against the headwind in the big gear? Or do I turn around? What decision would you make?

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No way to tie a knot in the cable at the cable stop? If you could at least get to the middle...
@Chiggins: I didn't think of that! That's an excellent suggestion.
I just searched around and saw another cool idea: secure the cable with a bottle cage bolt. That'll make my trip home tonight easier (have a monster hill that I climb to get home every evening).
I would have turned around and ridden back to the on-campus bicycle shop where I would have left my bike and picked it up with the cable repaired when I was ready to go home that evening.

Having a bike shop at work is fantastic and Eastside Ski & Sport (for those of you in the Bellevue/Kirkland/Redmond area in Washington) is a wonderful shop.
What would Eddy Merckx do?

There's your answer.
I would have tried adjusting the limit stop to get it in an appropriate gear. Not sure how much I could make it move but that would be my first thought.
Since you stated it was your lunch ride I would have turned back.

Unless your employer would understand that you are late returning from your lunch break because you determined those few more miles of difficulty are more important than your actual job.

Several good suggestions for stop gap repairs that could get you home at the end of the day, but don't forget how others may percieve your cycling dedication to be lack of dedication to your emloyer or favoritism if your tardyness is accepted and allowed.

I'm guessing you are a Gen X age rider.
I agree with Wayne, and would've set the limit screw for the gear I wanted. Probably look for something to use with a piece of tape I carry in the emergency kit to increase the range of the limit screw and reach the lower gears. I'd also use the oppertunity to think about the biking grandpa did and the equipment he used, and enjoy the nice pavement.
I would've called my buddy Fritz back at work who would have either found some really smart solution on the internet or had him put up some smoke screen, making it look like I was hard at work in another building while I fix it and continue my ride.
LOL on weezy ... hope that the judgemental pontification need was vented ...
I wouldn't have known what was up... so I'd prob'ly have turned back (unless I just didn't notice, masher that I am).
So how was the trip home? Pictures of the repair?
Summon visions of early TdF stages: fixed gear, giant climbs, 400km... Pedal hard!
HTFU (pardon the phrase) and ride on.
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