Tricky situation..- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Tricky situation..

    Any commuter ever encounter situation where bicycle suffer serious malfunction in the middle of nowhere or far away from nearest bikeshop.

    How do u get out of it?

    I am thinking of getting a normal size bike like a foldable paratrooper bike for commuting. If such situation occurs, I can hop onto some car or cab.

    Maybe you can share yr experience or method of solving it.

  2. #2
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    Bikes are fairly reliable. The simpler the better. I would design my bike for the 99.99% of the time it wiorks rather than the .01% of the time it fails. In case of the rare catastrophic failure. Lock it up to something, get a ride, and then come back and pick it up later.

  3. #3
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    Well my route is mostly 1 or 2 blocks from the subway stations. Something I am glad.
    But yes, bikes are quite reliable when well maintained. Make sure you check the usual things like tire, headset, chain, brakes, crank & pedals often.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by wunderkind
    Well my route is mostly 1 or 2 blocks from the subway stations. Something I am glad.
    But yes, bikes are quite reliable when well maintained. Make sure you check the usual things like tire, headset, chain, brakes, crank & pedals often.
    But sometimes, sh*t do happen,right? Some sort of bad luck or something....

    Locking up my bicycle in the middle of nowhere sounds unsafe.

  5. #5
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    Call for a ride.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBrider
    Call for a ride.
    You mean just like car? When yr car broke down and called for tow service but bicycle I have not heard of any emergency transport service for bicycle.

    Plus even with that service, will it be very expensive?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4


    You mean just like car? When yr car broke down and called for tow service but bicycle I have not heard of any emergency transport service for bicycle.

    Plus even with that service, will it be very expensive?
    Friends and/or family.

    I didn't own a car and commuted for 7 years. I commuted on a racing road bike. In all that time, I only had one incident where I could not recover and had to walk. My commuting toolkit included an extra tube, a patch kit, a few extra chain links, and a multi-tool which included a chain tool. I had a couple dozen flats. I had a couple of days with more than one flat. The day I had to walk, I was about 15 miles from home, and I ran over some weird nail that was about 3/8~1/2 inch in diameter. It ruined the tire ... not just the tube. If I had some boot material, I might have been able to air it back up. I never had debilitating chain trouble on the road.
    Last edited by [email protected]; 10-19-2010 at 10:41 AM.

  8. #8
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    If there is a real danger of getting stuck out in the middle of nowhere, then you had better carry the gear you need to get yourself OUT of there. When I ride my road bike on the bike trail I carry a tool, tube and cO2. When I commute to work I carry extra tubes and a pump. With the multi tool and my experience working on bikes, I could pretty much rebuild my bike and temp/perm fix any problem I encounter outside of a wheel grenading or the frame breaking. And if one of those things happen, I have two feet and a cell phone.

    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4


    You mean just like car? When yr car broke down and called for tow service but bicycle I have not heard of any emergency transport service for bicycle.

    Plus even with that service, will it be very expensive?
    Do you have no friends or family?
    :wq

  9. #9
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    I'm up in Canada. The CAA up here offers roadside assistence to it's member's while riding a bike. That means the same as if you were driving a car. Repair truck shows up, repairs are either made or if not possible a ride to a destination is given. Quite civilized eh?

    http://www.caasco.com/automotive/roa...efd=bikeassist
    Cheers, Dave

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nachomc
    If there is a real danger of getting stuck out in the middle of nowhere, then you had better carry the gear you need to get yourself OUT of there. When I ride my road bike on the bike trail I carry a tool, tube and cO2. When I commute to work I carry extra tubes and a pump. With the multi tool and my experience working on bikes, I could pretty much rebuild my bike and temp/perm fix any problem I encounter outside of a wheel grenading or the frame breaking. And if one of those things happen, I have two feet and a cell phone.
    You can't possibly bring a wholebike shop equipment and spare with you when you commute,right? I did menton serious malfunction which means it not just a simple problem of flat inner tube.


    Quote Originally Posted by nachomc
    Do you have no friends or family?
    I bet most of us commute during peak time or weekdays. Don't yr friends or family members need to go school or work? I usually the type who don't like to give trouble to others especially friends unless its a matter of life and death....

  11. #11
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    The events simply do not happen very often. For me (even trail riding), they happen less often than illness. Look around and note what people are commuting on and what they carry. You won't find any foldable bikes ... at least I haven't seen them. Any compromise you make, for a very unlikely fear, you will have to tow around with you hour after hour. Any complexity you add to the bike is going to be another potential source of failure ... and a failure you are likely not prepared for.

    1. you will have flats.
    2. you might break a chain

    PS. what is risky about leaving a broken and unrideable bike chained to something for an hour ot two?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4
    You can't possibly bring a wholebike shop equipment and spare with you when you commute,right? I did menton serious malfunction which means it not just a simple problem of flat inner tube.




    I bet most of us commute during peak time or weekdays. Don't yr friends or family members need to go school or work? I usually the type who don't like to give trouble to others especially friends unless its a matter of life and death....

    Five years of day in day out commuting I have always gotten home with the bike...

    Get Zinn the Art of Mountain Bike maintance....he has some great ideas of how to fix obscure problems....

    Even a broken frame or seat post can be fixed on the trail...

    I carry a leatherman (pliers, file saw, knife, posidrive, phillips) ball ended hex keys (10mm to 1.5 mm) Chain tool, quick links extra chain links, spare tube, hard plastic to fix a cut tire....used them all always got home...

    On the other hand I pinch flatted Tueday, about 2 km form home...I just walked it no big deal.
    Last edited by jeffscott; 09-24-2010 at 11:36 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    Get Zinn the Art of Mountain Bike maintance....he has some great ideas of how to fix obscure problems.....
    I need to reread that book.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4
    You can't possibly bring a wholebike shop equipment and spare with you when you commute,right? I did menton serious malfunction which means it not just a simple problem of flat inner tube.
    Have you ever used a multi-tool? I can loosen or tighten everything on the bike short of the bottom bracket and with a little creativity you can rig most stuff while on the trail. I don't know what a 'serious' problem is in your scenario, especially as I stated I couldn't fix a destroyed wheel or broken frame. If if I break a derailleur or chain, a pedal or have a tire failure, I can get home.

    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4
    I bet most of us commute during peak time or weekdays. Don't yr friends or family members need to go school or work? I usually the type who don't like to give trouble to others especially friends unless its a matter of life and death....
    My friends, family and myself don't all work the exact same set of hours, and some of them (like myself) don't even have set hours. A lot of us get to work when we get to work, stay eight (or more) hours and go home. That provides a whole bunch of flexibility. Absolute worst case I would call a cab and/or call in to work, or just work from home when I got there.
    :wq

  15. #15
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    It's calculated risks. This can be said for some many things. What if the bus broke down? What if there was an chemical spill on the freeway? What if a a pack of wolves escaped from the local zoo? So many what ifs.
    Just ride.

  16. #16
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    Better World Auto Club

    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4


    You mean just like car? When yr car broke down and called for tow service but bicycle I have not heard of any emergency transport service for bicycle.

    Plus even with that service, will it be very expensive?
    http://betterworldclub.com/

    has roadside assistance for bikes.

  17. #17
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    I usually bring hex keys, an extra tube, patch kit, ten inches of duct tape rolled on itself, hand pump and sometimes tire levers, though I rarely need to use them. I like to ride SS, which limits the number of things that can go wrong, hypothetically. If I break a chain, I'm walking. I did that on the Fourth of July, stood on one pedal and used my foot to propel myself- faster than walking- but after four miles, I was tired of dealing with it.

    An extra tube you need to have- if it is wet and grimy, it is a lot faster to replace a tube than it is to patch it. Patch the one with the flat later and make it the back up. Duct tape can solve some weird issues- like taking a nail. Replace the tube, put a couple layers of duct tape over the tire holes and you'll probably make it home. Everything on my bikes use hex keys.

    I have called once this year for a ride home because I forgot to throw my repair kit in my work backpack after the weekend mountain bike ride.

  18. #18
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    Had a flat and broke my tire levers trying to get the *#@% tire off the rim. Fortunately I'd worn both to the point they were flatting through the tread so they were replaced (cirac 2000 miles). Not nice getting them off at home, either. Blew the previous tires off the rims at the end of their usefulness when their beads got too loose. Then these were nearly permanently mounted. Solution: called spouse. Car has HUGE trunk.

    PS. It is never a good idea to continue a bike maintenance procedure in a truly foul mood.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4
    Any commuter ever encounter situation where bicycle suffer serious malfunction in the middle of nowhere or far away from nearest bikeshop.

    How do u get out of it?

    I am thinking of getting a normal size bike like a foldable paratrooper bike for commuting. If such situation occurs, I can hop onto some car or cab.

    Maybe you can share yr experience or method of solving it.
    If you find yourself broken down in the middle of nowhere, how the heck would you ever get a cab in the first place?

    I agree with what everybody else said- if your bike breaks, fix it. You don`t need a whole repair shop to get yourself rolling again. See the thread about quick fix jerry rigs for good inspiration. Go ahead and buy a folder if you want to, but it isn`t necessary for what you`re talking about- not by a long shot. It would come in handy for taking along on weekend trips, though- sure wish I had one sometimes.
    Recalculating....

  20. #20
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    im more afraid of breaking down in the middle of the woods. if you are anywhere near civilization all you need is a cell phone. Im sure you can find someone to come get you. cabs have trunks just take the wheels off your bike.

  21. #21
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    you could be walking in the middle of nowhere and roll both of your ankles.. no cell reception. what then?

    theres always some horrible worst case scenario. at best you can prepare for most scenarios and hope for the best. in all honestly, 99% of the time thats enough.

  22. #22
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    So what happens if you are riding along and you friend becomes the first victim of the Zombie Apocalypse? This is why I always commute with a shotgun and enough extra rounds to hole up in a Walmart for four months.

  23. #23
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    Re-reading the OP comments, as much as I hate to say it, maybe he should just drive. Oh, wait... the car might have a serious malfunction.... maybe just work from home.
    going out into the world with an irrational fear that something bad will happen is not an appropriate mindset for a bicycle commuter.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheoDog
    Re-reading the OP comments, as much as I hate to say it, maybe he should just drive. Oh, wait... the car might have a serious malfunction.... maybe just work from home.
    going out into the world with an irrational fear that something bad will happen is not an appropriate mindset for a bicycle commuter.
    I kinda get the impression he doesn't really want to commute.

  25. #25
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    how do I get out of it? I fix it.
    as previously stated, short of needing to replace a bottom bracket, there is NOTHING I can't fix or jury rig on my bike with my multi-tool.
    I could literally fill a page of "if this happens, I do this..." scenarios I've had to perform at the side of the road.

    you're commuting, not adventure touring with 50 pounds of gear... catastrophic failure is defined in much smaller and easier to fix terms.

    (why are you fearing a catastrophic failure if you haven't even gotten the bike yet? with the veritable plethora of options in bicycles how could you POSSIBLY convince yourself that a "catastrophic failure" is somethign you need to consider?)
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheoDog
    Re-reading the OP comments, as much as I hate to say it, maybe he should just drive. Oh, wait... the car might have a serious malfunction.... maybe just work from home.
    going out into the world with an irrational fear that something bad will happen is not an appropriate mindset for a bicycle commuter.
    With a car, you can easily dial a tow truck and get yr car to garage..

    Even with money, there might not be a service can come within few hours to pick up yr bicycle.

    And as for leaving yr malfuncion bicycle around,which is easier to be stolen? A car or bicycle?

    As a commuter, you never think of such question??? I am surprised. I did encounter a few incident but was very lucky it occured very near my home. The most serious one was running over some rock with my 700c wheels and the whole rear wheel/rim bend. The bicycle could not even be pushed as rear wheel struck. As I say, I was very lucky that this incident happen just 50m away from my home when I went home from work.

    Now I am riding a commuter bike of KHS Urban X with 26 inch MTB wheel.

    I am still riding a bicycle to work but just some dispensible commuter. The KHS cost me $399 only. So I think even if I lost it, it will not be a great lost.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4
    With a car, you can easily dial a tow truck and get yr car to garage..

    Even with money, there might not be a service can come within few hours to pick up yr bicycle.

    And as for leaving yr malfuncion bicycle around,which is easier to be stolen? A car or bicycle?

    As a commuter, you never think of such question??? I am surprised. I did encounter a few incident but was very lucky it occured very near my home. The most serious one was running over some rock with my 700c wheels and the whole rear wheel/rim bend. The bicycle could not even be pushed as rear wheel struck. As I say, I was very lucky that this incident happen just 50m away from my home when I went home from work.

    Now I am riding a commuter bike of KHS Urban X with 26 inch MTB wheel.

    I am still riding a bicycle to work but just some dispensible commuter. The KHS cost me $399 only. So I think even if I lost it, it will not be a great lost.
    I straightened buddies 700c front wheel after it Taco'd when he went up a curb the wrong way...

    Just popped off the wheel jumped up and down at the right places and viola it was ridable...

    We had to take off the brake so he only had the rear brake ...but it got him home at about 20 km/h.

    Just saying Zinn and the art of mountain bike mainataince has some good solutions for obscure problems.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4
    With a car, you can easily dial a tow truck and get yr car to garage..

    Even with money, there might not be a service can come within few hours to pick up yr bicycle.
    Towing a car costs an assload. You can call a taxi for a ride home with a bike. In any case, you can use AAA for both.

    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4
    And as for leaving yr malfuncion bicycle around,which is easier to be stolen? A car or bicycle?
    Lock the bike, for God's sake. Hide it, while you're at it.

    Quote Originally Posted by shimano4
    I am still riding a bicycle to work but just some dispensible commuter. The KHS cost me $399 only. So I think even if I lost it, it will not be a great lost.
    Now you are thinking, sort of.

  29. #29
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    Call a Taxi, tell them you are broke down on a bike. Worst can happen is you remove the wheels to toss the bike in the trunk.
    One benefit of membership in Chico Velo is the taxi is already paid for. How cool is that?

  30. #30
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    If you commute, learn to fix your bike. Carry a multi tool w/chain tool, patch kit, strong tire levers, a pump/co2/both, spare chain links, duct tape/e-tape, and a tube if you can fit it. Always have your cell phone and money.

    Helpful things to know:

    If your tire levers break, keys can do the job.

    Duct tape can patch holes in a tire.

    If you are riding a geared bike, you can get away with losing a link or two in your chain. You won't have an entire range of gears, but you can still ride.

    Many tires can still be ridden flat. stiffer sidewalls help make this possible. Most commuter/touring tires could probably be ridden flat depending on what rim they are mounting on. Not recommended, but if you have no other choice..

    Just keep your bike in good shape. I see people riding bikes that are totally trashed as their only transportation every day. These are frequently not nice bikes, but somehow they survive.

  31. #31
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    I am starting to see the OP's perspective.... I mean, what if I am riding my 700c commuter and a meteor lands in front of me and knocks out the road. Since i am not on my mtb, I can't go around the hole... how can I plan for that scenario?

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheoDog
    I am starting to see the OP's perspective.... I mean, what if I am riding my 700c commuter and a meteor lands in front of me and knocks out the road. Since i am not on my mtb, I can't go around the hole... how can I plan for that scenario?
    My commuter has a folding set of wings so I get some serious speed before the crater, then do a wicked bunny hop and glide to the other side.
    :wq

  33. #33
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    In VT, if you register as a car pooler, bike commuter, etc. (2x/wk min), you can get a "guaranteed ride home", which reimburses you up to $70, up to 6x/year, for a taxi, rental car, etc. if you can't get home due to: personal or family emergency, sudden illness of carpool driver or yourself, carpool driver has an emergency, mechanical breakdown of carpool vehicle, or unexpected emergency overtime. I haven't used it, but biking is specifically mentioned on the reimbursement form. I think they had this in Maine too - check your state's car pool promotion people, our reimbursement program is run out of the Agency of Transportation.

  34. #34
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    i always carry bus fare

    and my phone. After 9 yrs So far so good.

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