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Riding on one pedal

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Riding on one pedal

Old 01-07-07, 07:20 PM
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Riding on one pedal

I spent Christmas in New Jersey with the in-laws, who live in Lambertville, right on a bike path that runs along the Delaware river on both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey side for 30 miles. One day, the family decides to go into New York but I decide to take a bike ride instead, as the weather was nice and I hadn't been on this ride before.

I borrowed my brother-in-law's inexpensive bike with knobby tires and went down the road. The bike was not well maintained but seemed functional, with the exception of an odd thump in the left pedal/crank that seemed random. I checked it out but didn't see anything obviously wrong so continued on.

At the north end of the path (French Town), I crossed over into Pennsylvania and started back home down the path on the other side. About 1 mile down the path, the left pedal simply falls off. After examining the pedal, it becomes clear that whoever put on that pedal didn't know that left-hand pedals are reverse threaded and forced the (steel) pedal into the (aluminum) crank cross-threaded.

I wasn't sure what to do. I started walking but I was 14 miles from home and it was already in the later afternoon. I found a piece of nylon rope, tied my right foot to the remaining pedal but still couldn't ride the bike without pushing down on the left-side crank arm. While it was awkward and uncomfortable, I was able to ride the bike slowly.

It turns out Pennsylvania didn't maintain the trail and it got so bad that even walking the bike was hard. Ten miles from the turn around point, there was the first bridge crossing the Delaware back into New Jersey. I figured I could get to the nearest town, call a taxi, and get both me and the bike home before it got dark. In the nearest town (3 miles from the bridge), I discovered that they don't have taxis in that part of New Jersey. However, the owner of the inn where I asked, offered to drive me the 4 miles to my in-laws house. It was dark when I finally got back to the house.

While this wasn't a tour, it sure had that feeling of being on my own, in the middle of nowhere, depending on the kindness of people you meet on the side of the road.

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Old 01-07-07, 07:44 PM
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Well done on improvising something to get you a fair distance back. Your experience is... character-building.
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Old 01-07-07, 08:40 PM
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Glad you made it back in one piece...now you know the value of periodic maintenance and riding a bike with toe clips I have only managed to break one pedal in all my years of riding and it was within 2 blocks of home.

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Old 01-07-07, 08:49 PM
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I managed to destroy two pedals, both on the left side, during my Lake Erie tour. No major impacts etc just parts that wore out.

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Old 01-07-07, 08:52 PM
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Thats funny - I've was in a similar situation last year when I rode around Lake Ontario. About 20 km west of Rochester and the ligaments in my left leg gave way. Right leg was completely useless. Unfortunately on the Seway trail there isn't much for camping until Lakeside, no hotel,motel, campsites. I had to pedal about 50-60 km using only my right leg. Fortuntately I use SPD clips and was able to use the down and up strock Furthermore, I had hurt my right knee a couple days prior and the knee was the size of a cantalope - I was using the left leg to compensate. Guess it couldn't take it and just gave way.

Suffice to day I considered myself screwed but kept on going till I found a campground about 10 km before the one I intended to stay at. Rough ride - but it can be done !!
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Old 01-07-07, 09:46 PM
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I've never had one brake off, but I DID have both my pedals stolen when I was a teenager. I was only about six blocks from home. I still tried to pedal home; needless to say, it didn't work so well.

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Old 01-08-07, 03:08 AM
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I had that exact problem happen to my mountain bike a few months back. The pedal on the left side started to thiump, and then it just fell out. The pedal was pretty much fine, but the left crank arm was reamed out. I found it very difficult to carry on with the one leg. ACtually my left leg is not good so that might be part of the problem. I did think it was really awkward to pedal with one leg.

I don't think any cross threading was involved. One can't cross thread a steel pedal on an aluminum crank by reverse threading it, it would never bite. Mine just seemd to have loosened, and in that condition it wasn't stable and stripped the heck out of the crank arm. I had notice the bump on an earlier ride but thought the pedal itself was breaking, so I didn't check to see that it was screwed on with anything more than a glance.
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