Broken Spoke blog: My
I have a confession to make. I have a tool addiction. I keep buying
bike specific tools and hanging on to obsolete ones, too. I can
tell you when this addiction started as I remember it clearly. My
first bicycle was a hand-me-down of unknown origin. It was a simple
single speed that had seen better days, but to me at the time it
was the greatest bicycle ever.
I rode that bike every day until the chain kept falling off. As
a mere youngster, not yet even in my teens, I had no idea why that
kept happening. Fortunately, an older friend explained the chain
had stretched and the way to fix it was to shorten the chain. I
know now how simplistic that sounds, but we didn’t know any
better. I also didn’t know what a chain tool looked like.
To be honest, I didn’t even know such a thing existed.
My tool collection at that time was non-existent. Any pocket money
I had went on Lego and Action Men. Armed with just a screwdriver,
a hammer and a large nail and the guidance of my older friend, I
set about shortening the chain. First step was to remove the split
link with the help of the screwdriver. A slip of the screwdriver
gave me my first cycling-related injury but eventually I had the
split link off. Next, the chain was placed across two bricks placed
on the ground with a small gap between them. The gap was there to
allow the pin to be pushed through so I could remove the redundant
link. It’s at this point the nail and hammer are employed.
Hammer hits nail, nail drives pin through chain link, link gets
With the chain re-joined I was back on my way. Well, that was the
case until the crunchy noises started. Consultation with ‘experts’
or, if you will, friends, suggested I needed new bearing in the
bottom bracket. Buoyed by my success with the chain, out came the
big hammer and screwdriver again. It was not until I’d destroyed
the fixed cup that I discovered it had a left-hand thread.
After saving up several weeks’ pocket money, I was able to
take my poor bike and its mashed up fixed cup to the local shop
where the owner took pity on me and led me into the workshop. Here,
I was introduced to the world of specialist bike tools and so my
addiction began. Lock ring spanners, peg spanners, fixed cup spanners
and headset spanners soon led on to more hardcore kit; a headset
press, a crown race setter and more. Oh, so much more…
I’ve still got one-inch headset spanners and more freewheel
tools and obscure cassette lockring tools than I care to think about.
Then there’s the professional quality workshop stand, the
wheel truing jig, the dishing stick and, of course, a chain tool.
It’s a professional workshop standard piece of kit that cost
more than I like to think about and now the world is going 11-speed
it too will soon be as redundant as the headset spanners. However,
I won’t get despondent about the fact. Oh no, I’ve now
got an excuse to but another newer chain tool.
My name is Duncan and I’m a bicycle tool addict.
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