Fixing Things 2 – Bicycle

Cycling has not been happening lately due to transporting stuff to and from work, illness, and bad weather. I know I claim to be an all weather cyclist, but it’s true that neither of my two bikes are really up to travel on ice and snow.

Of course, this is the perfect reason to claim to need a new bike!

When temperatures first plummeted and before the snow and ice came, I did head out on Fuzzy to go to work one morning, only to find that the pedals spun freely in both directions. This is not normal and prevents the main function of the bicycle: forward propulsion.

I got to work using alternative means, and popped out at lunchtime to get the wheel checked. I’d had problems with the rear hub recently…maybe it had finally failed.

The first shop (my new favourite The Big Adventure Store) realised it was a Felt-branded hub and suggested that I go to a Felt dealer as they’ll be able to get parts. So I crossed town to Swindon Cycles.

In the meantime, the problem seemed to have fixed itself.

“Aha”, the Swindon Cycles man said, “it’s the cold! We’ve already had one of these today. Do you keep it outside?”

Apparently the ratchet in the freewheel can freeze so that the “pawl” (the sprung part that catches) is stuck in place. This either results in no ability to coast/freewheel (pawl frozen when stuck out) or no ability to pedal (pawl frozen when retracted in). And, I’m told, this can happen when water has got inside the freewheel mechanism.

To be honest, the weather’s been crappy for months now. Fuzzy has been a true workhorse getting me around in all conditions (bar snow and ice of course) staying parked up out in the rain all day and rarely being cleaned or maintained. It’s not surprising he’s a little under the weather.

I’ve had the hub cleaned and regressed so hopefully that will help. In the meantime I’ve learned something about freewheel’s, and something about the importance of caring for your steed.