So I’m riding down the I-44, also know as the Will Rogers Turnpike, not too far out of Tulsa, Oklahoma when all the sudden I realize that throttle isn’t very responsive. At 120km/hr (75mph) I quickly perform triage, I realize that my throttle is, indeed, responsive but that my drive train is not functional. Doubting that it was actually my transmission, I bet on the likely possibility that I have just lost my chain.
I pull over and as gracefully as I could, noting that this is a fairly busy highway, and find a guardrail to lean the bike against as the shoulder of the road is not level enough for the side stand. I do a quick survey of the are. No oil leakage. No dreaded crank case cutting or damage to the sprockets. My mind drifts into a story about a ride my friend Tyson Brust (google him if you want some fantastic riding stories) did this past summer when returning from Calgary to Toronto, his chain snapped and wrapped around the drive sprocket of his DR-Z400 causing him all sorts of grief. His pain involved shredding his top gear and basically stumbling home with a mashed transmission. I’ve thought about it for a bit, and I think the chain would have to break in a pretty specific route around the sprockets for it not to be spit out the back…
Alas, my chain was spat out of the back. But where? I left the bike and walked. And walked more. I believe it was a 50-10 minute walk when I found the chain sitting on the center line. Dawning my blue nitrile rubber gloves, I wait for a gap in traffic make the run for the center line. I’ve had some practice at this having lost one of my (now deprecated) aluminum pannier lids on the 400 Highway in Ontario and had to make a three lane dash to the median guardrail. So this mini-mad-dash was child’s play. Unlike the second time I lost my pannier lid and it became mangle tinfoil, my chain did not look at all damaged.
Inspecting the chain on the walk back, I accept that it was perfectly fine for re-installation. One of the reasons for me going to collect my chain is to determine where it broke. As suspected, it broke at the clip link. This is a special link akin to those used to fasten a bicycle chain together (when you are not using a chain tool). The decision to use a clip type link versus a more permanent rivet type link is one enshrouded by as much discussion as what oil, chain lube or tires to use. Some people swear by them and others detest them. I wonder if I am drifting into the rivet link camp. That said, it makes replacing your chain on the more complicated. That said, my chain fell off. I think I am going to chock this one up to user error. I *may* not have had the retaining link on tight enough — although the links were glued with RTV silicone adhesive.
Anyhow, I set to work, pulled out my spare links, shop towels, tools and other stuff other provisions and successfully repaired the chain. I will see were I get. That said, I need to pick up more spare links as I had to open a second kit having lost an x-ring (basically an o-ring) in the grass.
So here I am in Tulsa, OK still trying to source tires and more gear. In Ontario, bike shops are closed Sundays (“a ride day”). In these parts, it seems that Monday is also a “ride day” so better luck this fine Tuesday.