Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Maintain your chain: Please learn from my mistake!

Yesterday's ride did not go well. I had noticed the chain looked slack, and last time I'd adjusted it, the wheel was almost at the end of the adjuster. So I had intended to get it replaced Saturday.

Saturday wasn't soon enough. The chain had worn to the point it jumped off the rear sprocket while I was climbing a hill in bumper to bumper traffic. I tried to get it back on, but it jumped off 50 feet down the road. I looked in my pocket for my cell phone - and realized the cell phone was missing. This was officially going to be a bad day.

I was able to borrow a phone from a passing driver and give Philip a call, and we got the bike back to the shop I work at. I've got a new chain on order. Things could have been a lot worse.

If your bike has a chain, you need to keep it in good working order. It needs to be oiled every 300 to 600 miles, depending on who you ask (and no doubt on what oil you use). Even O-ring or X-ring chains need lube. You also need to adjust the tension any time they go slack. And if you run out of adjustment... get a new chain and sprocket, right away. I'd been doing the first two, but failed to realize just how dangerous my chain situation had become when it ran out of adjustment. For the record, the chain lasted 16,000 miles.

Another lesson: It is possible to get a motorcycle into the back of a Chevy Suburban without too much effort. Getting the motorcycle out of the Suburban is considerably harder. Next time I'm using a trailer even if I have to rent it.