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Ever been stranded?

Old 09-15-18, 05:45 PM
  #1  
chicagogal
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Ever been stranded?

Reading the thread about the cyclist on the bike path with no way to fix a flat got me thinking about the one time I was stranded... Let me be clear. I know how to fix flats and am completely self-sufficient. However, I once took an old cross bike out for a spin on the trails, flatted, and realized that my tire levers/CO2 dispenser were both with my road bike. I had CO2 and a spare tube, but nothing else. It was a face-palm moment. Anyway, it was a super-popular trail so I figured I'd be able to flag down help. In the meantime, I managed to get the old tube out and the new one in without tire levers (I was pretty proud of my ingenuity there), figuring that I would only need about 10sec with a borrowed dispenser and the good Samaritan would be on his/her way.... A few cyclists came by but nobody was equipped to help me fix a flat.... it took me at least an hour to find someone with a pump.
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Old 09-15-18, 06:00 PM
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I was 20 miles out in the boondocks and as I turned up a hill and stood on the pedals the rear chain broke. Luckily the cell phone worked there. It only took my wife 2 hours to complete her business and come and get me. In the meantime 50 other riders on that route had a good laugh at my expense. Who the hell carries a chain breaker? Yes, you can get a mini-tool with a chain breaker on it for an added weight penalty of only a lb.
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Old 09-15-18, 06:05 PM
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For all my endless fears about being stranded, it only truly happened once, around 1989. I had just finished building a set of Mavic Open 4 CD wheels. It was the first set of wheels I ever built with new parts from scratch.

I noticed that one of the rims was VERY out-of-round. Not having built up a new wheel before, and hearing nothing but good stuff about these rims (and Mavic rims in general) from everyone I talked to, I was sure the rim would be fine. But just in case, I built the uneven one for the front (should have returned it).

On my first or second ride, out in the middle of nowhere, I swerved sharply to avoid a pot hole, and the front rim folded on me, completely un-ridable. Within a minute or two, a pickup drove past heading in the direction of home and asked if I was OK, and told them about the rim. They said "Hop in the back". They had Minnesota plates and were very nice people, and felt an obligation to make sure I was OK and to help.

Someone was really watching out for me that day, and I was back home a half hour later. I doubt any car with California plates would have even thought to stop, it took a Minnesotan to help out. They said there people there will always stop and ask if you're OK, maybe due to the severe weather they have there, and the fact stranded people can freeze to death. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for people from that state, and I wish Californians were that nice. These people never even hesitated to help. I could they were good honest folks, simply by nature.
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Old 09-15-18, 06:11 PM
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I have been considering joining uber for such a reason. Anyone know if there is a bike hauling option in the search? Would be kind of nice to know who can get you out of a jam.
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Old 09-15-18, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by chicagogal View Post
A few cyclists came by but nobody was equipped to help me fix a flat.... it took me at least an hour to find someone with a pump.
I will always stop and assist but.. Last time I let someone use my pump, it was broke when I tried to use it next and almost left me stranded
It was a non normal biker with his family on what he said was a borrowed bike. I didn't hang out and watch him but I assume he didn't support the pump and hose and must have pulled the hose out of the chuck end and just stuck it back on gave it back to me. I was on the C&O a few days later and got a slow leak in a TL tire. Went to attach it and the chuck fell off.... I was able to rig it with some turns of duct tape enough to get roughly 25 PSI and get to Cumberland and buy another one. I can't say for sure dude did it but. I've been considering for the really out there trips like the C&O to start carrying a CO2 and a pump.
Last year in almost that same spot on the C&O, I gave a dude and his friend my only innertube. Now I was without one and paranoid. I met a random group an hour later at the divide and mentioned it and one of them gave me one, I didn't have a flat but he understood and was nice enough just in case.

Around town.. I get a ton of flats and 3 times last year people in cars stopped and offered help while I was fixing them. One was a lady by herself on a dark rural county road at 8 at night. I guess people on bikes look trustworthy. I said I was fine but she stayed there with her headlights on until I was done.

Last edited by u235; 09-15-18 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 09-15-18, 06:59 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
I have been considering joining uber for such a reason. Anyone know if there is a bike hauling option in the search? Would be kind of nice to know who can get you out of a jam.
Yeah, it's called Uber Black.. an option just meaning you'll get a big SUV. I used it once when an accident took out three spokes in my front wheel.
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Old 09-15-18, 07:07 PM
  #7  
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Call of shame 3x since the early 70s, & one was optional so as not to be late for a date.

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Old 09-15-18, 07:13 PM
  #8  
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In order of my own stupidity...

#1 I'd recently moved to a new region and decided to go out on what was supposed to be an EPIC road ride on my fixed gear, without doing anything smart like looking up alternate routes.

There's a stretch where the state highway merges with the interstate, and so no place for bikes/pedestrians for a few miles. To accommodate this, there is a path adjacent to the interstate.

Little did I know, the highway was under construction. No prob, I followed what I believed to be the bike detour signs. Next thing I knew, I was on the freaking interstate with cars going by at 75 MPH! I got off at the first exit and went into some little town, hoping to somehow reroute.

I rode back and forth on the one street in the little town, and discovered that due to construction, the only road north was closed, as was the only road south. The Mississippi River was to the east, and the only way out of town - other than the interstate - was a road to the west. This road started paved, then turned to gravel, and was very steep (it actually maxes out at 20%). I gave up (fixed gear!), especially since I had no idea where exactly it went.

I ended up hitching a ride through the construction with some people who were burning stuff by the river.

#2 Out in the country with my fixed gear (again) with bolt on hubs, about 40 miles into a planned 65 mile spring ride, when POP! No problem - I've got C02, tubes, and an adjustable wrench. Well...I never checked my tools, and discovered that my wrench had rusted shut over the winter, rendering it useless.

I walked about two miles down the road in the direction of a town with a bar, thinking I'd hit up some guys there for a wrench. I was about a mile and a half from town when the cavalry rode in - a very nice couple out on a ride! They hooked me up with a wrench. After the first two tubes we put in (one of mine, one of theirs) randomly exploded, the third one worked, and I got to finish my ride.

I still owe them some tubes.

#3 Let's ride bikes with old crappy tires! This time, I got a flat on the edge of town, ~7 miles from home, and this time, the exploding tube syndrome was due to my tires being in bad shape.

I think I could have gotten the thing booted, but a farmer came by in a truck and offered me a ride.



Originally Posted by cyclintom View Post
Who the hell carries a chain breaker?
Me! I didn't, until my friend broke a chain earlier this summer, and I was kicking myself for not having one.
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Old 09-15-18, 08:28 PM
  #9  
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In many areas of the country AAA covers bicycles also.

AAA Chicago Media Site | AAA Offers New Membership Benefit: Bicycle Roadside Service

AAA Newsroom - Wisconsin: AAA OFFERS NEW MEMBERSHIP BENEFIT: BICYCLE ROADSIDE SERVICE
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Old 09-15-18, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by chicagogal View Post
Reading the thread about the cyclist on the bike path with no way to fix a flat got me thinking about the one time I was stranded... Let me be clear. I know how to fix flats and am completely self-sufficient. However, I once took an old cross bike out for a spin on the trails, flatted, and realized that my tire levers/CO2 dispenser were both with my road bike. I had CO2 and a spare tube, but nothing else. It was a face-palm moment. Anyway, it was a super-popular trail so I figured I'd be able to flag down help. In the meantime, I managed to get the old tube out and the new one in without tire levers (I was pretty proud of my ingenuity there), figuring that I would only need about 10sec with a borrowed dispenser and the good Samaritan would be on his/her way.... A few cyclists came by but nobody was equipped to help me fix a flat.... it took me at least an hour to find someone with a pump.
lol yeah!

I had been on a road bike ride, came home and changed shoes from SPD SL to SPD and then went on a singlespeed ride. Half way through that ride I flatted, changed the tube, Froze hybrid Co2 to the valve and let most of the air back out. (so I thought). No big deal I'll just pump. So after pumping and not getting anywhere. I made the call of shame, "please bring me the floor pump".
Floor pump arrives and, pump Fsssss, pump Fssssssssss..... what in the world!!!
apparently a while back, I had somehow grabbed a tube that I had pinch flatted rolled it and put in my saddle bag. However I happened to have another tube in my jersey pocket from riding the road bike.

A couple of lessons,
1. Make sure you don't re roll your bad tubes!!!!
2. a patch kit would be handy, (multiple) seeing how my patch kit was in my Camelback for MTB'ing
3. 2 CO2's are better than 1
4. some hybrid pumps are cheesy!
5. moving stuff from bike to bike is generally a bad thing.
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Old 09-15-18, 11:53 PM
  #11  
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Been to WaWa Ontario?
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Old 09-16-18, 02:03 AM
  #12  
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I almost was! I was at school and noticed that my rear tire had gone flat at the bike racks, and it was the only time that I had ever forgotten my hand pump. So I thought
I was screwed until I realized my friend just happened to ride his mountain bike that has some crappy pump from 1995 attached and I spent like 7 painful moments pumping it up and made it home.
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Old 09-16-18, 05:41 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
lol yeah!

I had been on a road bike ride, came home and changed shoes from SPD SL to SPD and then went on a singlespeed ride. Half way through that ride I flatted, changed the tube, Froze hybrid Co2 to the valve and let most of the air back out. (so I thought). No big deal I'll just pump. So after pumping and not getting anywhere. I made the call of shame, "please bring me the floor pump".
Floor pump arrives and, pump Fsssss, pump Fssssssssss..... what in the world!!!
apparently a while back, I had somehow grabbed a tube that I had pinch flatted rolled it and put in my saddle bag. However I happened to have another tube in my jersey pocket from riding the road bike.

A couple of lessons,
1. Make sure you don't re roll your bad tubes!!!!
2. a patch kit would be handy, (multiple) seeing how my patch kit was in my Camelback for MTB'ing
3. 2 CO2's are better than 1
4. some hybrid pumps are cheesy!
5. moving stuff from bike to bike is generally a bad thing.
I have started tying tubes with holes in them, into a knot, so I will know right away they're NFG.
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Old 09-16-18, 05:55 AM
  #14  
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And old, dear friend just plucked me off the road after three days of a cross-PA tour. He drove 4.5 hrs. to get me then 3 hrs. to get to his country place. We drove back to town the next day. I had endured three days of literally non-stop, cold rain and headwind and was, at the time, heading towards the remnants of a hurricane. (The forecast changed after I made the call to abandon.) The bike was developing mechanical problems and I nearly crashed and fell into the path of a vehicle that was coming up behind me.
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Old 09-16-18, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
l
3. 2 CO2's are better than 1
Heh. Especially if one of the ones you are carrying was already used. Ask me how I know.
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Old 09-16-18, 06:17 AM
  #16  
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I always carry a spare tube and a pump, but that hasn't stopped me from becoming stranded. When I was at my largest (275-300 pound range), I pinch-flatted a lot. Twice I pinch-flatted myself plumb out of spare tubes. One time I walked the bike home (about 3 miles). Luckily I was wearing MTB shoes.

The other time I wasn't so fortunate. I started walking home (a distance of about a mile and a half) in stiff road shoes equipped with Speedplay cleats. Within half a mile, my heels were so painfully blistered I couldn't walk another step. My wife was at work, so I called my mother-in-law (who had a van and lived on the same street as me) to come rescue me. Fortunately, she was at home and was happy to retrieve me.

I now wear SPD cleats and MTB shoes exclusively, even when riding my road bikes. I also put tires with stiffer sidewalls on both road bikes and the gravel grinder. And when I ride the grinder, I carry two spare tubes and two CO2 cartridges in the rack trunk as well as a full-sized Zefal frame pump.
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Old 09-16-18, 06:46 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post


3. 2 CO2's are better than 1
One pump is better than 10 CO2's
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Old 09-16-18, 06:49 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by cyclintom View Post
Who the hell carries a chain breaker?
I always do, it's smaller and weighs less than some multi tools.
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Old 09-16-18, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Been to WaWa Ontario?
Yeah. Town with the giant goose? Only one real road, as I recall: Hwy 17, the "Trans-Canada."
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Old 09-16-18, 08:11 AM
  #20  
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Sabotage left me lightly stranded once. I rode my bike to the river and locked it under a bridge and climbed down the embankment to enjoy a couple of hours on the rocks. Someone let the air out of my tires. I'd left the pump at home and wound up pushing a mile or so to a nearby shop to air up.
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Old 09-16-18, 08:14 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Been to WaWa Ontario?
Yup, on a family camping trip. Saw the goose.
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Old 09-16-18, 08:45 AM
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I live in a small with no ride shares or regular taxi service available, at least not where I ride.

2 weeks ago I took a ride I hadn't done in a few years on my brand new bike. It is extremely rural. I got 19 miles into a 30 mile ride and by chain self destructed and took out the rear derailleur with it. My wife was not home and even if she was, she is not very good at navigating her to where I was stuck would take a miracle. My biggest fear would be to get HER lost and then have to walk out back home and then have to turn around and go find her, I walked home 10 miles. As I got closer to home I passed a few cyclists, no one stopped offering to help, not that anyone really could anyway. I passed a house where the owner was standing out in his driveway and he asked what was wrong. He just wanted to know, he didn't intend to offer help. I finally hit the southern edge of my town and I saw no less than four police SUVs pass me by, most of which had bike racks on the rear and not a one even slowed down to ask if I needed help. Within a couple of miles of home my wife called after she had returned home. By that time I was so close I wouldn't have saved much time so I just kept walking.

I still have blisters on my heels. My legs were a mess for 3 days. I took the bike into the LBS I bought it and they replaced the chain and derailleur right away. Not a clue as to why it happened.
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Old 09-16-18, 08:59 AM
  #23  
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Sorry to hear of your bad luck. When my front wheel folded, I expected a similar ordeal. Unfortunately for you, no Minnesota people were on the road that day in Arkansas. So much for the "friendly state" image.

It's funny how people can sense when you REALLY could use some help, and those are the times when they completely ignore you. Walking into a store is a good example, salespeople only ask you for help when you don't need it. On that tenth visit when you actually do need some help, everyone suddenly scatters or goes on break, as if there's a flashing sign on your head that says "AVOID!"

That's why I was shocked at how quickly I got help, that kind of thing is definitely not the norm in life. YMMV.
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Old 09-16-18, 09:22 AM
  #24  
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With a pump, patches, spare tube, chain break and tool kit, it's been years (and years) since I've been stranded due to mechanical issues. Since I mostly commute, I'm never too far away from anything, and the catastrophic giant nail/rear wheel/fender incident a year or two ago, happened only a quarter mile from the office.

However, I have bonked a few times and had to arrange for a lift.

And then there was that one incident in 2010 where I slipped a disc in my neck and couldn't continue riding...for the next YEAR!
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Old 09-16-18, 09:38 AM
  #25  
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The only time in the last 50 years that I was almost stranded, my NDS crank arm broke, deposting me onto the road. I was within 2 miles of home so I was able to limp along by scooting, pedaling (not easy with one leg) and coasting. Had I been further away, I would have had to figure out a different solution.

Just curious, do any of you use mountain bike pedals and shoes on your road bikes? I do for the specific reason that if I would have a problem that required a bit of walking, the recessed cleats would make it much easier.
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