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Worst non-collision induced mechanical failure on a commute?

pastryboypastryboy Posts: 1,385
edited April 2011 in Commuting chat
Today one of the bolts that holds my rear wheel in place snapped off (a hex bolt that screws into the axle). Four miles of slow, nervous riding hoping it wouldn't fall out followed as the wheel teetered in the dropouts with just the (stupidly short) length of axle to hold it in place - had a couple of snapped chains before but this had me in panic mode.


  • I have cracked a crank and had to ride to the bike shop 'one-legged'. Put it down to my awesome power, but more likely a combination of old age and corrosion (the bike not me; but now that I mention it....).
    Nobody told me we had a communication problem
  • crakercraker Posts: 2,060
    snapped a bolt on my saddle clamp. 3 miles without being able to sit down is surprisingly hard.
  • thegibdogthegibdog Posts: 2,106
    I lost the chain whilst out of the saddle in 39x11 resulting in an off and cracked ribs. I refer you to the case of Alberto Contador vs Andy Schleck as to whether this constitutes a mechanical or not though...
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,921
    I snapped a skewer on the way home once after adjusting the cones dinnertime. I could see why the skewer snapped, the locknuts came undone and wound off thee axle but why did it take 9 miles to do so? Luckily this was within 1/2 mile of home.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • prj45prj45 Posts: 2,208
    Handle bar.

    Sat at a junction I got this weird sinking feeling. Took me a little while to realise the left end of my handle bar was slowly bending downwards, and then it just snapped off.

    Quite why this didn't happen at a very inopportune moment (like when having to grab a handful of brake to avoid riding into the back of a bus) I'll never know.

    Pedal Arm.

    Again, sitting at the lights on aldwych, funny feel to left pedal and then crank arm dropped off onto the road, snapped right in half about half way up the arm, 10 seconds earlier and I probably would've been dead.
  • northstarnorthstar Posts: 407
    A spoke on the rear popped out once.
    Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.
  • noodles71noodles71 Posts: 153
    A worn front chainring that dropped the chain leading to the rear deraillur being ingested by the rear wheel. Some mashed spokes, deraillur destroyed, chain, cables on top of a snapped gear hanger meant it was difficult to find the spares to economically bring the 2004 Giant MTB back to life......
  • deswellerdesweller Posts: 5,271
    Left crank on the BSO I had when I was nineteen. The crank bolt unwound itself on my way home from work, and once the taper was damaged I could not get it to tighten up properly. Pedalled 3 miles one-legged.

    The front rim failure I had a couple of years ago was pretty grim though. Cheapo bike with cheapo wheels and not-so-cheapo tyres at a fair pressure. The rim decided to go concave while I was whisking along at about 20mph. Inner tube found the gap betwixt rim and tyre and exploded with a report like a cannon, tyre got blown off the rim in the other direction and promptly wrapped itself round the fork, bringing the bike to an abrupt halt.

    Unfortunately I did not slow down as quickly, describing a long, gentle arc over the handlebars followed by a sliding halt on the tarmac (mainly on my hands and knees).
    - - - - - - - - - -
    On Strava.{/url}
  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    First day at a new job, chain snapped on the way in, fortunately there was an LBS enroute and I got it repaired before they were meant to open up.

    Also snapped a crank at The Angel once. Not a good place for that to happen.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • TommyEssTommyEss Posts: 1,855
    I had my left crank come off on my old Pompino (external BB type, so allen bolt holding the crank on) - got a slightly wonky feeling, like my cleat was not quite right - went to try unclipping and re-clipping in, but my twist took the arm straight off.

    Cue one legged pedalling to a stop with (love a fixed wheel) and me tryin to walk on a showe with an SPD and crank arm attached - had to take my shoe off just to disengage the pedal!!

    Could have been worse though was at low speed on a quiet road.
    Cannondale Synapse 105, Giant Defy 3, Giant Omnium, Giant Trance X2, EMC R1.0, Ridgeback Platinum, On One Il Pompino...
  • snapped the dropout on the rear of a raleigh Phantom when i was 15. sheer power , or more likely stupidity in being in the wrong gear ,.
    Veni Vidi cyclo I came I saw I cycled
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    Not on my commute (no real failures on that) but my bike when I was 14 had a fork mounted lamp, descending a hill into town (car behind said he was sitting at the 40mph speed limit and not catching me), funny clunking noise and I look down to see the light rotating off its mount into the spokes, rapid braking and then CLUNK as it goes into the spokes, next thing I know I'm making like Superman, fortunetaly I tucked my head down and landed on my shoulders. 3 spokes snapped and the next 4 bent before the wheel locked solid, I ruined T-shirt and lost about 3mm of skin across the shoulders, following car driver was great, helped me to a pay phone and stayed with me another 5 mins or so until I convinced him I was OK, Mum picked me up about 10 minutes later.

  • mudcow007mudcow007 Posts: 3,861
    snapping the crank on my Kona in the middle of Liverpool city centre with a load of scally wags walking past sniggering because they thought i had fallen off


    personally i think it was awesome leg power

    FSA sent a replacement direct from Italy, which was nice
    Keeping it classy since '83
  • pastryboypastryboy Posts: 1,385
    Next time someone asks me if cycling is dangerous I may have to give a different answer :?
  • Fireblade96Fireblade96 Posts: 1,123
    Front brake cable snapped while riding along the flat.
    Very fortuitous timing, 1 minute before I'd been braking hard at the bottom of a very steep hill, and thinking "you wouldn't want a brake failure here".
    Misguided Idealist
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    I always dread my bars or stem going whilst descending fast or something.... That has to be the worst failure...
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • mudcow007mudcow007 Posts: 3,861
    chain snapping just as your powering away from traffic lights is pretty bad, your legs spin the cranks at about 1 million mph an generally smack your knee on the stem or worse fall and crush your love spuds on the top tube
    Keeping it classy since '83
  • Clever PunClever Pun Posts: 6,778
    seat post broke and only the saddle bag kept it anywhere near my bike, rode standing up from the city to canary wharf to get a new one

    the campag seatadjuster on a different seatpost wore out and the saddle just went back as soon as I touched it 13 mile ride home standing up was really tough

    broke the bottom bracket housing on the frame with awesome, the cranks were flapping around all over theplace
    Purveyor of sonic doom

    Very Hairy Roadie - FCN 4
    Fixed Pista- FCN 5
    Beared Bromptonite - FCN 14
  • BoyzieBoyzie Posts: 7
    Not on a commute but on Sunday my a bolt on my mates Boardman FS disapeared, leaving the back wheel attached by only one chainstay. I don't know who was more nervous, him going down some steep decents with the back wheel wobbling all over the place, or me behind him waiting for it to drop out completetly.

    Made it back to the car park in one piece only to discover the same bolt was hanging out of my bike! Halfords, the pinacle of bike assembly skills!
  • OrigamistOrigamist Posts: 807
    Not my worst mechanical/structural failure, but I was "fortunate" to have the moment my handlebars snapped captured on film: ... h9S2Dpq954

    Sadly, it was not good enough for "You've Been Framed".
  • lost_in_thoughtlost_in_thought Posts: 10,563
    I recall someone losing their front wheel while riding.

    That's gotta suck.

    Oh and:

  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    Worst? The poncy seat-post clamp on my BMC failing at the start of the Blenheim Palace sportiv forcing me to scratch from the event, and then having the supplying shop wriggle out of the warranty claim by claiming I'd somehow over-tightened it. No clues as to which shop it was, but they sound a bit welsh. Bunch of cn*ts.
  • oodboooodboo Posts: 2,177
    I had a carbon handle bar that snapped. The left side came clean off going down a curb and I rode home braking and changing gear with this loose bit of bar and steering with the rest that was still attached.

    Cue a lifetime distrust of all things carbon.
    I love horses, best of all the animals. I love horses, they're my friends.

  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    Boyzie wrote:
    Made it back to the car park in one piece only to discover the same bolt was hanging out of my bike! Halfords, the pinacle of bike assembly skills!
    Boyzie and his mate, the pinnacle of regular bike maintenance skills :wink:

    Mine isn't on a commute, but MTBing during the snow at the start of last year, at night. The snow was getting flicked up at my front mech, and freezing around it, when I triedt o change onto the big ring, the mech couldn't move. Cue a cable failure, but not the inner as you'd expect, which wouldn't be too much of a problem because I had a spare. For some reason it was the outer that split like a banana skin around the cable stop on the frame. So I had to bodge the mech to stay in the middle ring to get me home.

    As for the chain skipping and bashing your knee on the stem.....if you do it properly, it's the kind of pain that makes you want to curl up in a ball and cry for mummy!

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • 2011-03-18082845.jpg

    Less than two weeks ago...
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    Rear wheel suddenly buckles big time so much so that I need to complete release the brake to let it spin. Then spotting that all the spokes are pulling through the rim. Cue very gentle 2 mile ride home thinking any moment the back wheel will come apart. Then on closer inspection spot the fornt wheel doing the same. Cue a new set of wheels.

    This is why I do not trust Alex Rims, this is why I will not buy another Specialized Bike, this is why on my next bike wheel quality is number one on the requirement list.

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
  • JonEdwardsJonEdwards Posts: 452
    Bars snapped just as I pulled away from the lights outside Stockwell tube. They kind of "tore" in a spiral fashion - very weird feeling.

    I also remeber the chain feeling a bit funny. Had a looksee, and I'd managed to wear through the outer plate on one side of a link. That was quite a cautious ride home.

    LOTS of mtb carnage....
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 50,127 Lives Here
    Bus driver was milimetres behind my rear when when my front tyre exploded - causing the carcus to immediately fall of the wheen and bunch up in my breaks, throwing me forwards.
  • Last October the rear mech hanger snapped and the rear mech ended up in the spokes... fortunately the grass verge was soft and damp for the resulting face plant... score: new hanger, new mech, new chain, 2 new spokes (and i replaced the cassette at the same time as it needed doing)

    Last week, my bike pump punctured through the bottom of the rear pocket on my 10y old Altura pannier and jammed between the spokes and the mudguard stay, locking up the rear, resulting in an ungainly skid into the curb just missing a #15 bus, fortunately I wasn't doing any serious speed and managed to get both feet unclipped and down in time...
    Invacare Spectra Plus electric wheelchair, max speed 4mph :cry:
  • Saddle bolt snapped causing me to fall over the back of the bike, had to ride last 2 miles home uphill with no saddle and covered with blood/grit.
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