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Over the course of two weeks: Bike no longer pedals forward. How to fix?

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Over the course of two weeks: Bike no longer pedals forward. How to fix?

Old 06-04-21, 10:02 AM
  #1  
spolls
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Over the course of two weeks: Bike no longer pedals forward. How to fix?

Hello everyone, I'm a college student with an old road bike (hence the downtube shifters). I use it for cross-training when I'm injured (I'm a cross country/track athlete) and to get around campus or into town when need be. I live on a pretty small campus, so I only use it sparingly. Two weeks ago, I rode it across campus and it was fine. I tried to hop on it yesterday, and it wouldn't pedal forward, and the downtube shifters were incredibly "stiff" (they wouldn't move without a lot of force).
What could've caused this to happen during such a short period of time? I keep it under a covered bike-area outside.

Additionally, I noticed the chain was looking rusty, which I can't be sure whether or not that's a new development since I never really inspected the chain until today.

One more thing is that I noticed a little plastic piece that runs along the shifter cables as they descend the frame towards the gears appears to be loose, but it looks so small and light that I doubt it's the source of the problem.

I've never lubed the bike - I'm going to get some lube but I'm skeptical that's the problem given how quickly this developed.

Thank you all for your help!
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Old 06-04-21, 10:09 AM
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It's got to be that little plastic thingy that runs along the shifter cables.
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Old 06-04-21, 11:09 AM
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A picture would be really helpful. You'll need a few more posts, though. Enjoy Bikeforums, and all that it has to offer, and everything else.






*EDIT: This is me trying to be somewhat helpful. DON"T JUDGE ME.

Last edited by growlerdinky; 06-04-21 at 11:11 AM. Reason: I'm sorry. Men have cycles, too. Hey! See what I did? Cycles? Get it?
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Old 06-04-21, 12:01 PM
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Lots of good info on this link to help you narrow it down. https://www.parktool.com/ Sounds as if you could use it as a single speed. Lube the chain with something oily and see if it will ride in one gear.
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Old 06-04-21, 12:14 PM
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Does the back wheel spin freely? If not, your wheel may have moved in the dropout and allowed the tire to rub against the frame. This is guesswork without more information about the actual make and model of the bike.
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Old 06-04-21, 12:37 PM
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I hope you won't find this insultingly elementary, but is the chain jammed off a sprocket, like between the cogs and the dropout? That would make it impossible to turn the crank AND impede the motion of the derailleurs.
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Old 06-04-21, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Bigbus View Post
It's got to be that little plastic thingy that runs along the shifter cables.

It's probably a metric plastic thingy on an English bike.
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Old 06-04-21, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by spolls View Post
Hello everyone, I'm a college student with an old road bike (hence the downtube shifters). I use it for cross-training when I'm injured (I'm a cross country/track athlete) and to get around campus or into town when need be. I live on a pretty small campus, so I only use it sparingly. Two weeks ago, I rode it across campus and it was fine. I tried to hop on it yesterday, and it wouldn't pedal forward, and the downtube shifters were incredibly "stiff" (they wouldn't move without a lot of force).
What could've caused this to happen during such a short period of time? I keep it under a covered bike-area outside.

Additionally, I noticed the chain was looking rusty, which I can't be sure whether or not that's a new development since I never really inspected the chain until today.

One more thing is that I noticed a little plastic piece that runs along the shifter cables as they descend the frame towards the gears appears to be loose, but it looks so small and light that I doubt it's the source of the problem.

I've never lubed the bike - I'm going to get some lube but I'm skeptical that's the problem given how quickly this developed.

Thank you all for your help!
Kind of hard to diagnose from your description, but sounds like the chain desperately needs lubed no matter what. Any bit of rust is not good.

If you're on Facebook there's a bicycle repair group called Bicycle Repair Help Group. If you post pictures there someone might be able to help you (lots of bike mechanics on there), or else get 10 posts here and post pictures.
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Old 06-04-21, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
It's probably a metric plastic thingy on an English bike.
It must be the plastic thingy and not the carbon thingy, otherwise the bike would spontaneously asplode.
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Old 06-04-21, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
It must be the plastic thingy and not the carbon thingy, otherwise the bike would spontaneously asplode.
Could be a composite doohickey. Those tend to split at the join between the doo and the hickey.

spolls We're just riffing until you can post pics. We'll get serious again then.
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Old 06-04-21, 06:04 PM
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You asploding doohicky guys should get a warning! guy needs some help, though someone at his university should be able. maybe he is afraid to ask in person?
gm
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Old 06-04-21, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by gringomojado View Post
You asploding doohicky guys should get a warning! guy needs some help, though someone at his university should be able. maybe he is afraid to ask in person?
gm
OK, mom.

I think we all tried to help, but without a picture, we're all kind of stuck. Nothing wrong with having a little fun while op gets to 10 posts.


I totally related to op, when it comes to anything mechanical, I rarely know what to call a part.
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Old 06-04-21, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
OK, mom.

I think we all tried to help, but without a picture, we're all kind of stuck. Nothing wrong with having a little fun while op gets to 10 posts.


I totally related to op, when it comes to anything mechanical, I rarely know what to call a part.
I have a name for everything and everyone, or at least I did, then my wife asked me to quit using foul language. Now I don't have a clue what to call a part.
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Old 06-04-21, 08:37 PM
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I would take it to the engineering school on campus and let them have a go at it.
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Old 06-05-21, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
I would take it to the engineering school on campus and let them have a go at it.

Go to the physics department and take it to one of the quantum mechanics. Could end up with a bike that could be in two places at the same time.
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Old 06-05-21, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by gringomojado View Post
You asploding doohicky guys should get a warning! guy needs some help, though someone at his university should be able. maybe he is afraid to ask in person?
gm
In all fairness, he's come here and asked a question that we can't answer with the insufficient info he's given us. Yes, a photo would help. But chances are, if he inspected all the moving parts, he could probably see what was wrong. Bikes are pretty simple machines, after all. I'd be happy to help, but I need more than "...It yoosta work now it don't."
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Old 06-05-21, 05:45 PM
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I think we scared him off.
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Old 06-05-21, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Bigbus View Post
I think we scared him off.
Hope not... But then again maybe he figured out that he needed to unchain it first...
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Old 06-06-21, 10:40 AM
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I'm going to take a wild guess here and say the OP is NOT an engineering student.
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