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Old 09-28-07, 08:47 AM   #1
ax0n
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Just call me MacGyver

I encountered a fellow commuter this morning doing ye-olde walk of shame. I did a u-turn and asked if he's alright. He's a poor-ish fellow who was riding to one of those pay-by-the-day labor places. His bag of clothes and lunch ended up getting snagged in his chain. Somehow, it destroyed the rear derailleur hanger, and bent the hell out of a few links of chain before it finally snapped.

I ended up wrapping his RD cable around the seatstay to keep what was left of the RD out of the spokes, then found a reasonable and snug gear combination and cut his chain down to size, resulting in a 26" BMX bike but hey, at least it got him back on the road.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure he's got the $75 or so it will take to have it repaired properly at the bike shop. Hopefully my hack job fix holds for as long as it needs to.

Park Tool MTB-3 wins again. I don't leave home without it!
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Old 09-28-07, 08:51 AM   #2
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Good story and good job MacGyver.
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Old 09-28-07, 08:58 AM   #3
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Attaboy. Nice job.

Last time I fixed a guy's broken chain on the commute, I failed to zip my seatbag and lost my stinking multitool before I got home.
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Old 09-28-07, 09:04 AM   #4
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Sweet! Thats a cool thing you done there
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Old 09-28-07, 09:11 AM   #5
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Nice one!
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Old 09-28-07, 09:27 AM   #6
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Nicely done! Better story than mine from yesterday: going down the Williamsburg Bridge toward Manhattan on my way home (it's late, like 8pm) I spot a rider in distress messing with what look like the chain. I stopped to help, showing the "push the RD to loosen chain tension" trick to get the chain back on the chainring. Not MacGuyver-esque, but she was much cuter than any day laborer I've ever seen.
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Old 09-28-07, 09:46 AM   #7
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Old 09-28-07, 09:51 AM   #8
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Old 09-28-07, 11:20 AM   #9
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That baby was a devil-baby. I threw it off the bridge for a reason.
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Old 09-28-07, 12:33 PM   #10
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Nice going, ax0n My lesser story from this week looked initially like a chain problem, but it turned out the guy had stopped to look at his drivetrain trying to figure out how to change gear "into an easier" one - one twist of the grip-shifter with the wheel up and a quick pedal to show him and he was set.
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Old 09-28-07, 12:36 PM   #11
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Off topic but personally, I thought MacGyver was one of the worst shows ever. Seriously, and what's with that mullet?
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Old 09-28-07, 12:57 PM   #12
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Heresy!

All opinions of cheesy 80's shows aside, you can't argue that "conveniently" having the right tools and making a clever "design change" to something to make it functional again is textbook MacGyver stuff. Although, it (sadly) didn't involve any explosives, evil henchmen, or anything like that.

It definitely wasn't an innovative tweak. I'm sure people have been cutting chains and single-speeding their broken geary bikes to limp them along since long before I was alive. I've never had to use the chain splitter on my own bikes. It's always been someone else's.
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Old 09-28-07, 01:29 PM   #13
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Nice going, ax0n My lesser story from this week looked initially like a chain problem, but it turned out the guy had stopped to look at his drivetrain trying to figure out how to change gear "into an easier" one - one twist of the grip-shifter with the wheel up and a quick pedal to show him and he was set.
Wow.
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Old 09-28-07, 02:04 PM   #14
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Wow.
Indeed. Methinks someone would be better off with an internally-geared hub.
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Old 09-28-07, 02:16 PM   #15
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MacGruber!

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Old 09-28-07, 02:22 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ax0n View Post
I encountered a fellow commuter this morning doing ye-olde walk of shame. I did a u-turn and asked if he's alright. He's a poor-ish fellow who was riding to one of those pay-by-the-day labor places. His bag of clothes and lunch ended up getting snagged in his chain. Somehow, it destroyed the rear derailleur hanger, and bent the hell out of a few links of chain before it finally snapped.

I ended up wrapping his RD cable around the seatstay to keep what was left of the RD out of the spokes, then found a reasonable and snug gear combination and cut his chain down to size, resulting in a 26" BMX bike but hey, at least it got him back on the road.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure he's got the $75 or so it will take to have it repaired properly at the bike shop. Hopefully my hack job fix holds for as long as it needs to.

Park Tool MTB-3 wins again. I don't leave home without it!
$75?

A new rear dérailleur can be had for around $15... a new chain for about $10. Cheaper (or free) for a used dérailleur.

My new dérailleur on my old commuter didn't cost me a dime... I pulled it off of an old (cracked) frame.

There's also a bike collective here that I could refer someone to if they need help installing the parts (and for free parts).

There is something to be said for doing your own work
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Old 09-28-07, 03:13 PM   #17
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Great job! My roadside attempts at help have only proven modestly successful.
I've often wanted to cut off some low end MTB riders and use some spit-lube on their nasty squealing bike chain. They are commuters, and it sure beats walking - but a little maintenance would go a long way.
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Old 09-28-07, 03:19 PM   #18
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Indeed. Methinks someone would be better off with an internally-geared hub.
I was thinking along the lines of a mercy killing.
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Old 09-28-07, 08:54 PM   #19
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$75?

...

There is something to be said for doing your own work
I wholeheartedly agree. I am not in the business of working on other peoples' bikes. My time is worth a whole helluvalot more than that. I am into helping where needed, and this is the second under-privileged walk-of-shamer that I've given an impromptu fix to. The first one just had slipped both of his brake cables so far that they wouldn't slow him down anymore so he was afraid to ride. Easy fix. This guy wasn't aware that a chain could be split and re-assembled on any link other than the master. He was also trying to figure out how to re-attach his RD when it was obvious a metal part had completely snapped. I'm kind of operating under the assumption that this isn't a DIY bike mechanic. Go to ANY bike shop, even the small alt-bike indie shops. This guy's bike needed at bare minimum a new and a new chain, and installation. I don't know a bike shop where you can get that done for under $50. To top it off, they'd probably need to do the cable and housing for it at the same time. It was in pretty bad shape. The FD lever was broken off and it was jammed in the big ring position.

I'm also just going to guess that a new cluster would be needed with the new chain as well. This bike was not well cared-for, but it was this guy's only way to get around. I don't know of any co-ops, and I don't know where the mysterious "816 bicycle collective" (a local BC) is.
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