Monday, March 28, 2011


Fiberfix Emergency Spoke
Whenever my cycling buddy Roy and I pack for our annual cycling adventure (the last four years has been south central British California), we have a discussion about my packing an emergency spoke.  Our conversation ususally goes something like this:
Roy - "Don't tell me your adding the extra weight to your already burgeoning saddlebags?" 
 Me - " Yeah, 3 ounces is going to make a big difference"
"I've never, ever broken a spoke"
"Just like in the 12 years you've owned that bike, you've never changed the chain!"
"When you buy the best then the best is going to last."
"Well, you just wait until we're 40 kilometers from the nearest bike store and we'll just see how far you can pedal on a broken spoke before all your spokes break and then we have to walk our bikes 40 k!"
"Never going to happen!"
At this point I'm thinking that if it were to happen that Roy breaks a spoke then he can kiss my a**.

In reality, my team spirit would kick in and he could use my emergency spoke which would save his wheel from extensive damage.  Especially if it was a rear spoke.  What with 20 - 30  pounds of camping crap on his back pannier rack, a broken spoke would be a fairly serious matter.  If it happened to my bike with my 30 -40 pounds of crapola strapped above and around  the rear wheel.....

There is a lot of debate about the causes of broken spokes and when I look at my friend Perry's bike and the way he rides that thing, I can't help but wonder if his broken spokes are caused by him sitting so close to the center of the rear wheel and that his spokes breaking aren't caused by improper weight distribution.

When I Googled "Broken Spokes", the internet spewed this:

...Also, I cannot stress enough the benefits from ponying up the dough to get a set of good quality hand-built wheels: they will save you a tremendous amount of weight, make your bike lighter by a factor of pi of the original weight savings, and also be stronger and more durable in the long run. On the issue of weight, if you spring for quality aluminum spoke nipples, you save a good 4 grams per nip compared to brass nips. Over the course of a 32 spoke wheel, this adds up to a savings of 128 grams, or 4.5 ounces. Now, because this is rotational weight, the actual amount of force required to get that mass moving is multiplied by the ratio of the wheel's diameter to it's circumference: pi. So just by going with alloy nips, you'll effectively be saving 13.5 ounces out of the weight of your bike, per wheel...

So I'll just pack my little plastic pill - container - sized emergency spoke kit and hope that neither Roy nor I experience a broke spoke when next we ride the Kettle Valley Railway.  But if he breaks a spoke, I just know I'll have so much fun teasing him until I relent and help repair his wheel.  I mean I had so much fun razzing him about the five hours we spent on three occasions last year fixing his flat tire in 30 degree + temperatures. 

The opposite of +30 degrees


  1. You have captured Roy to a T! Being his sister, I know exactly what you are talking about! I am hopeful that in the grand scheme of things I will be around to see him eat his words about one or two things! It's entirely worth it to pack on a few extra ounces/pounds just for the sheer joy it would bring just to prove him wrong occasionally! Go get him, Mike!