Tell Your Best Field Repair Story, Win a Banjo Brothers Backpack

A Note from Fatty: I’m really pleased to announce the fabulous Banjo Brothers have joined in the Fat Cyclist Ads-for-Schwag program. Readers with long memories will recall that the Banjo Brothers were the very first company to do giveaways with my blog, and they have always given away awesome prizes. Today, they’re continuing that tradition by putting up a great Commuter Backpack — $79.99 value — for me to give away. Read on to find out how.

When your mountain bike breaks in the middle of the ride, it changes the way you think. You see everything differently. Gum, rocks, candy bar wrappers, sticks, and rubber bands become valuable tools. If you manage to salvage a ride using stuff that was never meant to be part of a bike, you feel pride, and justifiably so. There’s a rough beauty, after all, to an innovative bike field repair.

I’ve seen some great field repairs in my time. Here are the ones I can remember right this moment.

Duct Tape Repairs
As many of you know, I always keep a yard or two of duct tape wrapped around my bike seatpost. This has been useful so many times I have lost track of them. Here are a few that come to mind, though:

  • Cut Sidewall: I’ve taped the inside of a gashed sidewall at least twice, including twenty miles into a 100-mile race. It worked well enough that I forgot I had made the repair and continued to ride that way for another few rides.
  • Band-Aid: When Kenny cut himself on a thorny bush at Moab last month, a strip of duct tape did a fine job of stopping the bleeding.
  • Seatpost Repair: One year, while riding the Kokopelli Trail, Dug’s shock seatpost kept loosening up, unthreading, and threatening to fall off. While duct tape couldn’t prevent it from loosening up, it did keep Dug’s saddle from falling off.
  • Frayed Cable Housing Repair: On the same Kokopelli trip, Dug’s front derailleur cable housing frayed, making the bike shift at incredibly inopportune moments (i.e., two or three times per second). Dug used what duct tape he hadn’t used on his seatpost to repair his cable housing. Dug owes me a couple yards of duct tape.
  • Busted Pedal: I honestly can’t remember who this happened to (Bob, I think), but I recall someone’s pedal body — this is back when we all rode Speedplays, which have very brittle pedal bodies — shattered during a fall, leaving nothing to pedal on but the smooth pedal axle. So he duct-taped his shoe to the axle. This worked, though it required a much greater commitment to not falling for the rest of the ride, cuz, um, it’s difficult to clip out once you’re taped in.
  • Busted Saddle: When I endoed at Brianhead 100 one year, my saddle snapped off, leaving nothing to sit on but a seatpost. I used my duct tape to round off the edges a bit. It still wasn’t especially comfortable to sit on, but beggars can’t be choosers.
  • Busted Frame: Corey Jones’ bike frame broke while he was riding the White Rim last year, and yet he finished the 100-mile ride. He just duct-taped the top tube to the seat tube (it broke at the weld) and kept going. Corey commented that the bike didn’t handle quite as well as it used to.

Non-Tools as Tools
The thing about duct tape repairs is that since duct tape is designed to do everything, you’re not being truly creative when you use it to fix your bike. What I love to see is when people fix their bikes with something completely outrageous. For example:

  • My Hotel Key: Before Shimano incorporated a pulley into its rear derailleur, you had to either make your cable take a long loop around, or use an aftermarket pulley — “Rollamajig” was a popular brand. I had one of these rollamajigs on my Ibis Bow Ti (I was all about the bleeding edge back then). Unfortunately, as I was racing the Leadville 100, the cable hopped off the groove of the Rollamajig and lodged itself tightly between the pulley and the apparatus that attaches the pulley to the derailleur. I simply could not get it out, no matter what. As time went on, I became more and more distraught, because I had been — for the first time ever — on track for a sub-9 Leadville. I just didn’t have a tool that would fish the cable out of that crevice. Until I thought of my hotel key, which was in my Camelbak. I swear, that thing must have been designed for the task, because I was up and riding 30 seconds after the idea occurred to me. The cable popped off five or six more times during that race, and I took care of the problem quickly each time. My finishing time was 9:13.
  • A Stick: On a ride early this season, Kenny’s ultra-expensive, ultra-trick new carbon cranks had a little problem: one of them fell off. Yep, he was riding along and one of the cranks just fell off. If you ask me, cranks just aren’t as useful when they aren’t attached to your bike. Kenny tried using a stick to wedge the crank into place, but this is one of those times that a field repair was destined to fail. The crank kept falling off. So Kenny rode the rest of the ride one-legged, and was still faster than I.
  • A Bit-O-Honey: Similar problem, but this time it was Aaron, at Fall Moab last month. And he tried using a Bit-O-Honey as adhesive. I am laughing even as I type this. Dug got this on video; Check it out at about 2:35.
  • [youtube]eXsd6fdG-Ds[/youtube]
  • A Safety Pin: Back in the olde days, when we used V-brakes instead of discs, Rick lost a pin for one of his brake pads — this was about ten miles into a thirty mile ride. Luckily, I still had a safety pin attached to my Camelbak from a recent local race; it fit perfectly. Better than the original pin, I think.

What Have You Fixed?
So this brings us to the contest, wherein you can win yourself a  waterproof, totally excellent Banjo Brothers Commuter Backpack: describe a field repair you have made. I’ll choose a winner at random from all the good entries (i.e., a comment that says, “Pick me! Pick me!” guarantees you will not be picked, ironically).

Good luck; I’m sure you’ll win.

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