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Self rescue procedures and precautions for solo winter rides?

Yesterday I had a chain snap in the middle of the countryside and this has prompted this post.

For the past twenty plus years I’ve had the luxury of having had my wife at the end of the phone for emergency rescues for solo winter rides.

Unfortunately my wife died earlier this year and solo road rides have been my therapy and I want to keep going through the winter as I’ve done in previous years.

My routes are about fifty miles on rural country roads in Leicestershire. I know It’s not the highlands of Scotland but it’s relatively sparsely populated between villages.

I was wondering what self rescue procedures others have for solo winter rides provided commercially or not?

I carry a mobile and run Strava using their beacon facility with my adult kids who are in London as the contacts but wondered if there were any cunning plans or procedures for last resort rescues that might be a bit more immediate?

Thanks

Denis
«13456

Posts

  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 17,785
    Card, phone and taxi when nobody available.
    Buses too if you should be on a suitable route.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • TheBigBeanTheBigBean Posts: 15,027
    You could increase the size of your repair kit e.g. a spare chain link, spoke key. Otherwise, it's taxis, trains and walking. Also, I would imagine you would be successful hitchhiking if the vehicle had space e.g. a van, so I wouldn't rule that out.
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 8,189
    Sorry to read this post.

    Some taxi cab firms will collect bikes. If you are riding in generally the same area, I'd call round and find one in advance.

    Most roadside issues can be fixed well enough to get you home, eg take a multi tool with a chain breaker. Some duck tape to patch tyre cuts, at least one spare tube, a pump and patches obviously, a quick link and a spare gear cable. Other than the pump that's all small enough to go in a seat pack.

    And if you are solo perhaps don't go out in particularly bad weather.
  • masjermasjer Posts: 576
    edited 4 January
    Sorry to hear about your wife.
    A comprehensive tool kit + spares can get you out of most difficulties. A chain splitter with a spare quick link and you could have fixed the broken chain.
  • masjermasjer Posts: 576
    `Winter` tyres with more puncture protection, wet grip and tougher casings can be a good idea in deep winter. Or, if you really don't like fixing punctures, tyre sealant (some are better than others).
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 7,138
    can/s of foam sealant dependant if your tyres are compatible, cable ties, chain splitter, Co2 canisters, spare link, multitool, credit card, phone.

    everything apart from last 2 in one of those tool things that go in a bottle cage, first one in a back pocket.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 23,466
    Sorry to hear about the situation.

    I've always thought a chain snap was the next most likely thing to happen after a visit from the puncture fairy and a high consequence failure so I've always had a multi tool with a basic chain tool function and a spare link.

    Unless you're talking about something breaking totally, the rest of the bike can usually be limped home.
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 8,189
    Worth bearing mind that punctures can come in pairs. Hence patches and a pump (unlimited air). And not going out if it's crazy bad weather (everything is harder to fix if your hands are freezing or if everything is wet). Assume it.goes without saying, but being warm enough and being able to stay warm enough if you aren't riding is a good plan as well.
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 7,138
    I carry a Presta to Scraeder adaptor at all times - size and weight of a penny, costs 50p means you can use a garage airline.

  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 8,189
    MattFalle said:

    I carry a Presta to Scraeder adaptor at all times - size and weight of a penny, costs 50p means you can use a garage airline.

    By the roadside in rural Leicestershire?
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 8,189
    And some garages will get quite upset if you try. Never underestimate the pettiness in the exercise of negligible powers.
  • davidofdavidof Posts: 2,624

    You could increase the size of your repair kit e.g. a spare chain link, spoke key. Otherwise, it's taxis, trains and walking. Also, I would imagine you would be successful hitchhiking if the vehicle had space e.g. a van, so I wouldn't rule that out.

    That would be my plan. You can get universal spokes from SJS,

    https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/spokes/fiber-fix-emergency-replacement-spoke/?geoc=FR

    one of those snap chain links that don't require a tool and some way of patching big cuts in a tire. The only time I got stranded was a GP4000 that blow out on an expansion joint leaving a 2 inch cut, had to walk 5 miles to a bike shop. A friend had a saddle rail break on another trip, a shop stuck a second hand one on for him to get home.

    Cables can break - PITA for gears, less critical for brakes but limp homeable in both cases.

    As others have said, make contact with a taxi co and also plan routes around train stations and know the timetable. Have a friend you can call. Personally I would go 30 miles to pick anyone I know up if there was an emergency and they called me.

    https://www.bikeradar.com/advice/workshop/emergency-bike-repairs/
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  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 7,138

    MattFalle said:

    I carry a Presta to Scraeder adaptor at all times - size and weight of a penny, costs 50p means you can use a garage airline.

    By the roadside in rural Leicestershire?
    Its Leics, not the outback ffs.

    anyhow, how schmucky would you feel if you punctured next to a petrol station and didn't have one?
  • Sorry to hear about your wife, i was widowed 10 years ago and understand a bit!
    I cycle in rural Scotland and make sure I can repair most simple things. Also carry card, cash, phone.
    Maybe make sure you have some phone numbers for local taxi service.
    Only other thing is pack a down or similar jacket or vest, you can get really cold whilst waiting and they pack really small.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 7,521
    Sounds like taxi services are the way to go - I must admit I'd be unsure whether taxis would take a bike but if some do maybe check in advance and carry a few numbers of those that will.

    I suppose you could walk to a house and ask permission to leave the bike there - then pick it up in your own car.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • davebradswmbdavebradswmb Posts: 259
    I do think that if you are going to remote areas it is worth considering taking extra gear so that you can stay comfortable while awaiting rescue, maybe even a survival bag. You can get very cold very quickly once you stop moving. I have taken a lightweight down jacket and a survival bag with me for longer gravel rides for this reason, but I must admit that I wouldn't normally do this for a road ride.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 17,785

    Sounds like taxi services are the way to go - I must admit I'd be unsure whether taxis would take a bike but if some do maybe check in advance and carry a few numbers of those that will.

    I suppose you could walk to a house and ask permission to leave the bike there - then pick it up in your own car.

    The one time that I had to order a taxi I mentioned the bike on the phone and they sent an estate taxi. A bike will fit in the boot of most cars with the wheels off.
    Biggest issues are full mudguards and oily bits getting the taxi stained.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 7,138

    I do think that if you are going to remote areas it is worth considering taking extra gear so that you can stay comfortable while awaiting rescue, maybe even a survival bag. You can get very cold very quickly once you stop moving. I have taken a lightweight down jacket and a survival bag with me for longer gravel rides for this reason, but I must admit that I wouldn't normally do this for a road ride.

    a survival bag? seriously?

    are you taking thepiss?

    why not take a tent as well?

    he's in Leicestershire ffs.

    spares as above, credit card, 'phone.

    job jobbed.
  • orraloonorraloon Posts: 9,389
    Chill the MFs, chill. Is just a broadening of subject. E.g. there ain't too many taxis if you are gravelling in the remoter areas of Scotland for example, gonna be waiting a wee while there. Is about doing the 'what could go wrong?' thinking process and making allowances for different scenarios.
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 7,138
    edited 5 January
    nah fam, its not a case of chillin', its a case of knocking the totally ridiculous and dramatic on the head.

    tbh, 95% of people don't know how to use one properly anyway.

    perhaps he should have a Pedro following him at all times as well just in case he gets a puncture between Market Harborough and Lutterworth.

  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 7,138
    he's riding between villages in Leics, not traversing Sangin.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 58,775 Lives Here
    Ignoring MF for a moment, I think the advice about making enquiries with taxi services who would, when needed, be able to give you a lift home is probably the best advice.

    The challenge with keeping warm etc is how to carry extra layers - in my experience the packable windproof layers are probably best for this as it's a decent trade off.

    I think an extra link and the associate chain tool is probably not too much of faff to carry, and yes, I would agree with the above that you should always have a combo of tyre repair kit as well as a spare inner, and use a pump rather than co2 canister.

    Finally, when you are making repairs solo, it's always worth taking your time and being extra careful e.g. to make sure you really do dig out the offending puncturerer - to save additional faff.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 17,785
    edited 5 January



    I think an extra link and the associate chain tool is probably not too much of faff to carry, ...

    Nah. A multi-tool with chain breaker fits in a small saddle bag and a chain quick link is negligible.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 58,775 Lives Here
    maybe my double negative got lost in translation.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 21,341
    I'd just suggest cycling shoes that are comfortable to walk in for a couple of miles.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • laurentianlaurentian Posts: 1,949
    Having the What3Words app on your phone can be useful if you're stuck in the middle of nowhere and don't have a definitive "address" to give to a taxi or friend when needing them to pick you up.

    The idea of checking a few taxi firms in the area who would be happy to transport a bike is a really good one. May also be worth asking the question of one of the local "man with a van" companies if they would offer an emergency recovery service and at what price. (friend of mine with a van gives me and another cycling mate a "free recovery" as a Christmas present every year).

    As above, suggestions of a spare tube, patches in case you have more than one puncture (and pump of some sort), quicklink and chain breaker and a spare cable should get you out of most situations. I ride the lanes around Leicestershire too and they don't seem particularly disposed to dishing out punctures.

    Personally I don't carry a multitool with chain breaker on it but instead a "proper" chain breaker and the two allen keys that fit everything on my bike that could be repaired at the roadside. Better quality, easier to use, less bulky. Crucially, you'll need whatever tools are required to fit the spares that you are carrying and, of course, know how to use them to carry out the repair - so perhaps a bit of "practice" at home could help to understand what you can do and what you would need to do it.

    Hope you get some kind of solution to your "rescue" needs - it's a lovely part of the world to cycle in.
    Wilier Izoard XP
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 869
    There is a mobile bike repair guy near me who does call outs within a certain radius - I've never used him but i saw his van pull up outside next door a couple of weeks ago. There may be someone similar in your area?

    The only time I recall being unable to repair something on a ride was a simple puncture but I'd managed to pack my mtb inner tube on the CX bike along with a puncture repair kit with a dried out glue tube :( . It was also 9:30pm, dark and I was on a rutted byeway so couldn't even roll down the hills on the deflating tyre - it would have been quite a pleasant walk during the day, in more sensible shoes and without a bike to push along.

    I guess if you carried a suitable lock, you could lock the bike up while you got a taxi home and then come back to collect the bike later? Might be an option if local taxis don't want to deal with an oily bike in their car.
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 8,189
    This is all getting a bit overkill. Especially carrying spare spokes. The idea is to get home, not complete the 1908 tour unaided.

    Break a spoke = remove spoke or tie it to a other to avoid injury + open brake calipers or remove pads (assuming it's a rim braked bike), proceed directly home.

    Bust a brake cable = use other brake, proceed directly home.

    Bust gear cable = put bike in middle of gear range and proceed home. Or fit new one of you have it.

    Anything more serious = taxi + don't go out in the first place in horrific weather when you might perish from exposure while you wait.
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 7,138
    carry spare spokes? wtaf?

    yeah, and the tools to fit it plus the truing stand, plus plus plus.

    why not a spare bottom bracket at the same time?

    survival blankets
    spare spoke/s

    this is ridiculous.

    everyone does realise this is Leicester England, yah?
  • TheBigBeanTheBigBean Posts: 15,027

    This is all getting a bit overkill. Especially carrying spare spokes. The idea is to get home, not complete the 1908 tour unaided.

    Break a spoke = remove spoke or tie it to a other to avoid injury + open brake calipers or remove pads (assuming it's a rim braked bike), proceed directly home.

    Bust a brake cable = use other brake, proceed directly home.

    Bust gear cable = put bike in middle of gear range and proceed home. Or fit new one of you have it.

    Anything more serious = taxi + don't go out in the first place in horrific weather when you might perish from exposure while you wait.

    I suggested a spoke key because it is small and it is easy to straighten a wheel a bit if necessary. A new spoke would be a bit over the top.
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