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A tale of two chains

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Your bike chain probably isn't something you think about much except when it is time to lube or clean it.  However, a chain problem can derail a bike ride pretty quickly, leaving you miles from home unless you are prepared to deal with it.

 

Last summer, I was on a LWA ride when one of the other riders broke her chain.  It broke a few links away from the quick link, probably because it had been lengthened by adding some links from a second chain, but that is another story.  Fortunately, I had a multitool that included a chain breaker, so we were able to remove the damaged part, and another rider had a quick link, so we were back on our way pretty quickly.  Though I'd been riding for more than 30 years, I had never thought to carry a quick link with me, but. since that ride, I won't leave home without one.

 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago,  another LWA ride.  I dropped my chain to the outside of the large chainring, and somehow managed to force the chain between the crankarm and the ring, right past the metal pin that is supposed to prevent that.  The crankset is of a type that doesn't have chainring bolts that can be removed out on the road, so the only obvious solution was to take the chain apart at the quick link.  This is pretty easy if you have a chain link pliers or, in a pinch, some narrow needle nose pliers, but I was forced to remove the link with my hands, which were quickly greasy and slippery.  Fortunately, I was finally able to get it done and remove the chain, but it was not an experience I wanted to repeat.

 

A few minutes of internet surfing revealed quite a number of small quick link pliers.  The one I eventually settled on has two tire levers that hinge together to form the pliers.  There is a handy space to store the extra link.  This takes the place of the regular tire levers that I usually carry, so no added weight or space needed in my saddle bag.  About $12.49 on Amazon.  Highly recommended as a way to decrease the chance that a broken chain will ruin your ride, or that of one of your riding companions!  And don't forget the multitool with a chainbreaker. . .

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CPR and First Aid
LWA 3rd Annual Cycling Skills Course, April 30