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Right-hand gear changes on my much-abused commute bike have been less than precise for a while.  Shift-past, then click-back have become how-it-is…

On Wednesday morning last week things took that extra step and jammed up completely.  Thankfully in an easyish gear – good for hills, but less good for trying to keep up with the pedals downhill.  Enforced free-wheeling.  Compulsory.  The ride to work individual time-trial is deferred – over grudgingly (where did I develop that competitive streak?).  This bike – an off-the-rack Specialized Tricross (a road-ish looking light-ish bike that’s a bit less back-splitting and more robust than the latest Tour de France copycat – for those less interested).  It’s got to the stage where I admit I’ll need to pay it some attention.

Wednesday evening.  I’m prepared to cruise home – to ‘let’ people over-take.  No getting carried away and giving chase – something I’d normally end up doing even if I’d promised my legs an ‘easy ride home’ (just that once). This time I’ve no choice.  The ‘game’ (as Tim Darby calls it) is off!

Then the intermittent ‘click’ starts.  The ratchet that holds the shifter cable as tight as I’ve wound it up with one part of the lever contraption is a done-for thing.  As the light fades, headlight winking past me – it progressively lets go.  The gears go from relaxingly easy, fleetingly past ‘just right’ to ‘not much fun unless it’s downhill’ – all without the ability to wind everything back up again.  That’s gone too, now.

Friday morning.  I naively hope that I can just replace a mangled and worn-out cable.  Not that simple.  So – set things up to work using the 2 gears I have left (the one using the front mech).

Not working - get rid of the cable - nothing but brakes on that side now

Not working – get rid of the cable – nothing but brakes on that side now

No point having the cable coming in here either

No point having the cable coming in here either

Fiddle with the limit screws to get into a reasonable gear.  Surprising how far in you can get.

Fiddle with the limit screws to get into a reasonable gear. Surprising how far in you can get.

En fin – I have a gear for going at an ok pace on the flat that with a bit of standing gets me up short rises; and an easier gear that works for longer ups with some out of the seat action required to get me up the final steepness heading home.

Monday morning (today).  It transpires that I’ve been not needing the front gears to change much for even longer, so every time I head for the big ring, the chain falls off. After a number of disgruntled stops, I work out how to get the chain back on with one hand while riding.

I do have intentions to fix this all properly.

It wouldn’t surprise me if I’m still in two gears and doing the chain thing a few weeks from now.  Amazing what you get used to.

[Photos – Olympus OMD EM5/Panaleica 25mm f/1.4]

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