I fell off my bike!

I fell off my bike!

Well, I didn’t really fall.  No.  I was thrown violently over the handlebars landing in a lump on the pavement.

I had just put a new battery in my cycle computer on my commuter.  The Kuwahara.  And, reset the wheel size to correctly reflect the new tires just installed.  I was on my way home from work on one of my “benchmark rides” speeding along at 25+ kph, feeling strong and happy to be outside after sitting at a desk for 5 hours.  45 minutes into the ride, I decided to stop for water, as I usually do at one of the concession stands in Stanley Park.  The one at 3rd Beach.  There is a short, steep hill to get to get up to the concession.  As I made a left turn to exit from the seawall I geared down, changing to the middle chainring, ready for the climb.  That’s when it happened.  SPLAT!

Somehow the chain locked, decoupled the brake cable and, can you believe this, dislodged the rear wheel from the drops.  The rear wheel came off!  The bike stopped abruptly.  And, I was thrown over the bars landing on my right knee and right palm.  OUCH!

I was all right.  Startled.  And, more than a little embarrassed.  My newly energized cycle computer was also thrown to the ground and automatically reset itself losing the statistics for the ride.

I picked myself up.  Rubbed my knee.  Put the wheel and computer back on the bike.  And, gingerly carried on, albeit, at a slower pace.

I have since carefully inspected the drive train and have no idea what happened.  The chain did not come off.  Somehow, and this is the mystery, when I changed to the smaller chainring, the chain tangled with the rear brake.  On this bike, the rear brake is located on the underside of the chain stays.  This has never happened before and I have been riding the bike for over 20 years.  The chain is not worn.  And, the quick release was secure.  It’s a conundrum.

My wife wasn’t sympathetic.  No.  She laughed uncontrollably.  She thinks I need to stop working on the bikes.

That’s not going to happen.  But I may get a second opinion.  I don’t want this to happen again.


16 thoughts on “I fell off my bike!

  1. I’d call a shop… There are a few possibilities. A dirty chain, worn chain rings or cassette can cause chain suck which could probably cause what happened to you… That’s crazy bad. Glad you’re okay.

    • That’s the interesting thing. I just rebuilt this bike 6 months ago. New chainrings, chain and cassette. And, I am fastidious about keeping the entire drive train clean and well lubed. It seems fine but I will get a second opinion. And, thanks. I just have a few bruises and wounded pride to deal with.

  2. Sorry to hear about your accident, but glad you’re okay by the sound of it! I’ve only ever experienced chainsuck, as bgddyjim mentioned, with a heavily muddied mtb, jamming the chain in the chainrings. With the positioning of the rear brake on the underside of the chainstays, it obviously brings the chainset and the rear brake very close together. One cause could be the end stops of the front derailleur. There are usually 2 screws on a derailleur which set the limit of how far the derailleur can actually travel either way when operated. It could be that the one that stops the front deraillieur moving inwards past the smallest chainring needs adjusting. The derailleur may have overtravelled and pushed the chain past the smallest chainring and towards the bottom bracket shell and hence why it caught on the back brake. Just an idea.

    • I have checked the front derailleur. It seems to be setup correctly. I am back on the bike and have tried all the gears. It’s a mystery. I am wondering if I picked up a stone or branch in the chain that fell out before I noticed. I have never known that to happen but suppose it is possible.

  3. That’s really scary! I’ve flown over the handlebars once and can still remember it! Eep! Of course, glad that you and your bike are fine…I also have to admit that I probably would’ve laughed too (only once I knew you were okay). I’m kinda weird like that.

    • I laugh about it now. I must admit it must have been funny to watch. And, there were spectators. They are probably telling stories about the guy that flew over his handlebars while going up hill. I would feel differently if I broke something. I was lucky.

      • I consulted my partner on this, read the whole thing to him as well as these comments.

        One question he had was what do you you mean reset the wheel? He wasn’t sure what that meant, and it could just be a matter of different lingo.

        A dirty chain and such wouldn’t cause this (I caught you said it was clean, so that’s more a comment for others). It would skip before it would it jam. Unless it was like a rusted chain but you’d notice that before you got up to speed anyway.

        A stone or stick wouldn’t do that either. Especially without you noticing.

        The most likely possibilities are:

        1. The limit screws on the rear derailleur were way out of adjustment. Could cause the chain to get caught between the cassette and the wheel. Not the front because if that were set wrong and the chain were falling on the inside chances are you’d just drop the chain.

        2. The wheel wasn’t secure enough. Maybe the quick release wasn’t tightened enough? Maybe it felt tight enough but it wasn’t.

        3. If you think the chain is getting caught in the brake, then that means your chain is too long–WAY too long–or there is not enough spring tension in the rear derailleur cage. That would make the chain really slack and then get caught on something.

        If you can’t replicate the problem, then the most likely reason is that the wheel was too loose. Because none of the other problems would relieve themselves.

        🙂 I know you know your stuff and you have a ton of experience. Hopefully this helps at least a little!

      • Thanks Echo.

        I think the most likely reason was a loose quick release. I had just put a new set of tires on the bike a few days earlier. I am usually careful when putting wheels back on but I can’t figure what else could have happened.

        Tomorrow I am going to spend some time with the bike checking the limits screws for the derailleurs, chain length and the rear brake. The chain is relatively new, clean and well lubricated.

        In any event, thanks again to both you and your partner. I’ll keep you posted if I do find something.

  4. Pingback: What a fall has taught me | PedalWORKS

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