“Fix bike. Ride on.”

Halfway through my first attempted “Sunrise to Sunset on the Solstice” ride in June of 2016 ((Half) Summer Solstice Ride | Ride | Strava), far down a backroad of western Maryland, four miles into an extended climb, the rear derailleur hanger on my rental bike snapped. I had basic tools (multi-tool, tire levers, CO2, tube), but I didn’t have a chain puller. So my only viable option was to try to wrap the chain and derailleur around the frame to secure it away from the spokes, so that I could safely coast back down the hill to cell range where I could call for help.

When I picked up a cell signal, I texted my biking guru Karl (Let Me Tell You ‘bout a Friend | Ride | Strava) to help brainstorm my options. Do I attempt to find a bike shop? Do I phone a friend? Is there some other way I can make the bike rideable? Karl’s first response was, “Fix bike. Ride on.”

We had a good discussion and I finally concluded that my sister who was an hour away and could come to pick me up was probably my best exit strategy. But Karl’s initial point stuck with me. I love this mindset: (a) always bring the tools you need and (b) be creative on possible solutions. Work the problem!

I’ve continued to keep this phrase in my head and have been getting steadily better at solving mid-ride problems,

This morning, as I saddled up to join my team for a morning ride, I saw my front tire was flat despite having added pressure a half an hour before. Just as I was realizing that, three riders of my team arrived at my driveway. And we had two more riders meeting us 15 minutes down the road.

There was no time to reseat the tube (this was a tubeless bike), so I went with a variation of Karl’s sage advice: “Switch bike. Ride on.” 🙂

It kept us on time, and made for a bit of comic relief during the ride, as I was riding a road bike while they were all on gravel bikes riding gravel and dirt trails. Better the wrong bike than no ride!


Happy Gilmore | Ride | Strava (look at those thin tires in the foreground)

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