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mein Dreirad ist kaput - helen-louise
mein Dreirad ist kaput
I am having a very bad day.


I don't know much about cycle maintenance, and I don't even know what this part of the trike is called (a chain guard, maybe?), but common sense suggests that the chain is supposed to go round the spokey bit, not cut across the middle of it... :/ More pictures.

Last Wednesday I noticed the chain was slipping. Every 3rd or 4th time I pedalled it felt like it needed less pressure to turn than normal. Does that make sense? Also the trike seemed to be pulling to the right. They do have a mind of their own when it comes to steering, but that trike is new and had been behaving itself pretty well. I know from experience that it's something to worry about if a tricycle seems to be pulling to one side - the only time I've ever fallen off on a road was when my old Pashley decided to start pulling abruptly to the right, which I compensated for by over-steering to the left and going round a corner at speed, the whole thing decided to turn over. So I figured something was up. I looked at the brakes, gears and pedals but I couldn't see anything wrong. I went away for a couple of days at the weekend and asked Richard before I went to take a look at it, but I guess he didn't get round to it.

Monday it seemed fine, yesterday I noticed the slipping again and made a mental note to ask Richard to look at it again. Today I had to go to a new student who lives on a "rough" council estate. This is, btw, Kingston people's prejudice - it's generally a posh area and that's the only high-rise council estate in the locality. I'm fairly sure it's nowhere near as bad as other inner city areas - the number of people who've been raped or murdered there since we've lived here is, er, none. So I'm not sure it deserves its reputation. But anyway - I couldn't find a proper cycle rack, which surprised me, so I tied the trike onto a large concrete column - one of the posts supporting the block of flats. I half-folded it and secured it with a thick chain around the concrete post and a thin chain holding the wheels together. When I got back, the trike had been kicked over - it was lying on its side, and someone had clearly had a go at the lock and chain. There's no way the wind alone could have blown it in that direction, or could have blown it completely over from upright. It's quite stable when it's on its stand. So I figured myself lucky that I had a good lock and decided never to leave it there again. I thought that was the end of it.

Then I rode into town to do some photocopies, then I took the photocopies to another student's house, then I went to the supermarket, then I came home. On the way home, on one of the busiest roads in Kingston, the thing went kaput and the pedals stopped working. Fortunately, I was in the cycle-and-bus lane not the main road, and there wasn't a bus coming at the time. So I'm fine. The trike is also fine apart from being broken! but I had to push it all the way home

If you look closely, you'll see that the plastic chain guard has sheared through in two places. So you can't just slip the chain back on. I didn't notice it, but I guess that's why I've been feeling the pedals slipping. The way it's broken means I can't collapse the trike to take it somewhere. So I'm quite upset. Theoretically it's all under warranty, because it's only about 3 months old - I'd have to look back in my journal to see exactly when I got it. But it's the fact that I've no idea how long I'll have to wait for the part to come in, and I don't know whether Araldite + duct tape will be enough to mend it. I also don't know whether this is a random failure, an accidental failure caused by the trike fallling on its side onto concrete, or deliberate vandalism. And it's the whole mobility thing - I really do depend on the trike to get me in and out of town, and while I can get there on the bus it's all so slow.

Please send chocolate.

Edit: it's fixed.

Current Mood: uncomfortable uncomfortable

8 comments or Leave a comment
hiddenpaw From: hiddenpaw Date: 27th September 2006 18:05 (UTC) (Link)
I call the wheel with the pikey bits the front gear. and the other bit the chain guard. Were you peadling backwards at the time it came off. That used to do it on mine. The fact it seems to have broke some of the guard is a porblem, but the bolts look to be quite standard so you should know sombody living closer than me who has the right thing to unscrew it.

You may need to readajust the back gears to make sure it dosn't happen again.
baratron From: baratron Date: 27th September 2006 18:28 (UTC) (Link)
It's not possible to pedal the trike backwards - the pedals don't turn at all that way. I updated my post to explain what happened.

hiddenpaw From: hiddenpaw Date: 27th September 2006 21:11 (UTC) (Link)
That the chain gose cleanly on to the front gear is no natural thing. They have to be alligned. In the cases of Bikes where the bike has multiple gears (Be it back and front or just at the back) You will find a guide to make sure the chain is guided on to the front gear in the right alignment (And the back gear too for that matter). If this has been knocked out of alignment you will get some slippage as the chain misses the occational cog and if it gets too far out of alignment it comes off all together.

If you don't have Multiple gears it could just be that either the front or back gear have come out of alignment. I leave it to you and richard to work out how far.
syphonboa From: syphonboa Date: 27th September 2006 19:24 (UTC) (Link)
Looks like your chain got loose and popped off the chainwheel. Probably your rear wheel is getting loose and moved forward enough to give it slack.

Remove the chainguard and pop the chain back on.

Its usable until you can get a replacement chain guard.

Just...dont get caught in it.
syphonboa From: syphonboa Date: 27th September 2006 19:27 (UTC) (Link)
ok to add:

Its possible your chain tensioner is getting loose.
memevector From: memevector Date: 27th September 2006 19:47 (UTC) (Link)
::hugs:: if you want some

what a bummer.

I was thinking something similar to what syphonboa just said - that perhaps the loose chain and the broken chain guard are actually distinct phenomena, and you could get the chain adjusted to work fine so the trike was rideable while you were waiting for the new chain guard.

I'm not a bike expert - haven't owned one for a long long time - but it doesn't look to me like the chain guard is meant to keep the chain on, just to keep stray items out of it (such as trouser legs).

Maybe when the trike got tipped, something got boinked so the chain tension is wrong. But the chain tension has to be adjustable some way and the mechanism for that may not actually be broken.

(Yes it's all coming back to me actually - you had to wiggle the chain up and down to test whether it was the right looseness! so on most bikes that certainly is meant to be a user-adjustable thing.)

so yeah, I think there's a good chance that if you can find someone local who does their own bike maintenance they will be able to look at the trike and see what the matter is, and that it'll be fixable on the spot.

hope so anyway - and hope it gets fixed a.s.a.p whatever.
syphonboa From: syphonboa Date: 27th September 2006 20:30 (UTC) (Link)
Ive broken a chain tensioner by riding down a flight of stairs...

ya...dont do that. ^^;

otterylexa From: otterylexa Date: 27th September 2006 20:12 (UTC) (Link)
Remounting the chain on the front cogs is a trivial operation. I suspect that the damage to the chain guard is due to the chain coming off, though it may also be due to contact with the pavement. The chain guard in any case is not a critical component - it's function is to protect you/your trousers from the chain/cogs. I expect some araldite will fix it enough for use.

As to the cause of the chain coming loose, it may be due to some misalignment in the rear cogs. Richard may or may not be able to see if there's some problem there. It's hard to see, but there may be some problem with your chain tensioner/derailleur - it doesn't seem to be behaving like I would expect..
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