Well today wasn’t what I expected. As I wrote at the end of yesterday’s post right as I finished the day’s ride I noticed that my pedal was barely hanging into crank arms. I spent some time last night trying to tighten the pedal up but no luck: it was clear that the threads were totally stripped. I had no choice but to just try riding to a bike shop to find a replacement. My hosts last night (the amazing Wade and Deborah) fed me, gave me a place to sleep and do laundry, and drove me back to the route. As he dropped me off Wade offered to give me a ride to a bike shop if I needed it. Foreshadowing…
I got started and could feel the pedal just getting looser and looser. It was like a baby tooth that you can tell just wants to fall out, but in this case I was doing everything I could to keep it in place. I tried not putting weight on it as much as possible but despite this after just two or three miles, as I was crossing a high speed intersection, the pedal gave up and clattered to the ground. I pulled over, ran back into the intersection to grab it, and started surveying the damage. It didn’t look good. There was basically no thread left for the pedal to screw in to. I looked through my gear and I didn’t have anything that could keep the pedal in place (I think the only option was probably something like JB Weld). So instead I decided to figure out a way to pedal with only the left pedal. The main issue was that I ride flat pedals so there’s no way for me to lift the pedal from the bottom of it’s rotation back up to the top with just one pedal. I don’t even have straps or anything like this to make this easier:
Instead I decided to improvise and used some Paracord to fashion a strap. I tied the cord to the pedal then wrapped it around my foot. In use it looked like this:
You can see the blue cord around my left foot and my right foot just dangling in the air. I got rolling and it was slow going. Any hill slowed me down to a crawl, with some requiring me to get off and push. I had about 15 miles to go to the nearest bike shop in Salem across mostly flat ground. It wasn’t all that terrible, just frustratingly slow. Over time I developed a ‘pedal with the left, push with the right’ method that seemed to work. It took about 1.5-2 hours to get into Salem, but I did make it safe. The bike path dumps you out right in front of a bike shop, Santiam Bike Shop. These guys were amazing. As I walked in they dropped everything and took a look at the bike. They agreed that the cranks need to be replaced. They looked in the back and couldn’t find anything, but they offered to hold onto my panniers and pointed me towards another shop just down the road. I went down the road to The Bike Pedaler and showed them the bike. They went and found two different cranks: one would be simple crank replacements, but they were only 165 mm long, whereas the current cranks are 175 mm long. The other option would require a whole new bottom bracket, chain, and crank arm/chainring combo that was larger gearing than the current chainring. I decided to go with the second option to avoid the 165 mm cranks even though it was going to be more expensive. This shop was great too and offered to do the repair the same day. I thanked them and headed to lunch.
I got the call in a few hours and grabbed the bike with this beautiful new chainring:
I grabbed some beer for the Santiam guys as a thank you for holding my stuff then got a hotel for the night. I could use a rest day anyways. I’m gonna do some shopping for food then head to bed. See you tomorrow!