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bodge_ziptie_qr_lo (18K)

Paduang-style headset assembly

This week’s reader-contributed bodge repair clearly represents some sort of karmic balancing for last week’s. Our previous offering featured no zip ties at all, with the inevitable consequence that this one uses nothing but the nylon wonders.

This is the hind quarters of Martin Massey’s Santa Cruz Blur. He was out on a night ride (in the winter – if you look very carefully you might just spot the odd bit of mud). Anyway, to cut a short story even shorter, the nut on Martin’s rear QR came undone, shedding most of its threads as it did so. Martin’s a design engineer, so we assume that his description of said threads as “knaggered” is a proper technical term.

We doubt that Martin’s day job involves much in the way of mission-critical zip tie solutions, but he played a blinder here – two ties around the frame, mech hanger and sticky-out bit of QR shaft kept things together for the two hours home. Result!

Over to you

We want to know about your MacGyver-esque trailside repairs – the ones that show a bit of lateral thinking, a dash of inspiration and the all-powerful spirit of bodge. We’ll share the best ones with the world, in the hope that they might come in handy for someone else one day.

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bodge_headsetpress (15K)

Paduang-style headset assembly

Woo, yay and houpla – we’ve found a bodged repair that not only doesn’t involve zip ties, there aren’t even any sticks in it. And we were beginning to think that it’d never happen. So we’re extra-specially grateful to Colin Campbell for sending us this shot of the results of his brother Adrian’s labours.

Allow us to elaborate. Colin’s headset had partially disintegrated during a weekend in the Brecon Beacons, but by a happy coincidence he had some spare bits of headset in his toolbox. Perhaps unsurprisingly, though, he didn’t have a headset press with him. And it was a Bank Holiday and all the bike shops were shut.

Fortunately Adrian is clearly strong in the ways of bodge, and with the use of a Headlock, the combined spacer resources of two bikes and a bit of grunting, a new headset cup was pushed into place.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what that ding on the head tube is, it’s the results of an earlier hammer-based attempt…

Over to you

We want to know about your MacGyver-esque trailside repairs – the ones that show a bit of lateral thinking, a dash of inspiration and the all-powerful spirit of bodge. We’re particularly interested on ones that don’t involve sticks… We’ll share the best ones with the world, in the hope that they might come in handy for someone else one day.

Send a description and a picture (that’s important – we want stuff that you’ve actually done and has worked) to us at the usual address

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bodge_cablebutter_lo (12K)

Buttery smoothness

Yes, it’s zip ties again for this week’s bodged repair. But full marks to Craig Wilson for lateral thinking in this intriguing variation on the popular cable outer splint bodge:

During a trip up in the Lake District a couple of years ago, I suffered the wrath of a big rock bouncing up and smashing the cable outer that routed the rear mech cable under the bottom bracket. So I managed to limp my way into Coniston for lunch on a limited number of gears. As you are probably aware Coniston doesn’t have a bike shop, so no chance of purchasing some cable outer. However, after viewing the remains of our lunch I spotted the wrapping from two of the small packs of butter that we’d had with our soup and roll. So it was out with the trusty zip ties and the wrappers to fashion a repair around the smashed cable outer, please note buttered side to the inside for that extra pre-lubricated touch. This worked an absolute dream with almost perfect “buttery smooth” shifting for the rest of the afternoon.

Top stuff. Keep ‘em coming…

Over to you

We want to know about your MacGyver-esque trailside repairs – the ones that show a bit of lateral thinking, a dash of inspiration and the all-powerful spirit of bodge. We’re particularly interested on ones that don’t involve sticks… We’ll share the best ones with the world, in the hope that they might come in handy for someone else one day.

Send a description and a picture (that’s important – we want stuff that you’ve actually done and has worked) to us at the usual address

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bodge_fmechstick (12K)

Give it some stick

Are there any conceivable bodged repairs that don’t involve cable ties and sticks? We know they’re out there, but we’re still waiting for pictorial evidence of their use. But for now, here’s a true classic of the stick-and-tie bodge from Dave Harris:

I went out on a short (bereft of tools) evening ride a couple of weeks ago with my mate Chris. About five minutes in, my rear shifter went “spoing!” and died, leaving me with just my smallest sprocket. After a few minutes scouring the floor for something to use as a screwdriver we decided that it was a dead loss, and just to press on, given that I still had three gears on the chainset. The front mech wasn’t working too well, so I pretty much had to manually move the chain from one to the other if I wanted to change. We made it to the top anyway, and I thought I’d have a look at the front mech and see if I could get it working properly. However, at the first touch of the shifter, the cable outer exploded into a Bolognese (shurely “spaghetti”? -Ed)of wires, leaving me at the top of five minutes of lovely, loose, rocky downhill with only one gear – granny ring to small sprocket (tut tut). That’s how I arrived at the pictured bodge. And rode all the way home in top gear.

Just in case it’s not quite clear what Dave did here, he’s used that bit of stick to hold the front derailleur cage out – without any cable tension it’d usually spring to the inner ring position. The cable tie stops it falling out. If the rest of your ride isn’t all downhill (and let’s face it, they rarely are), just find a thinner stick and lodge the mech in the middle ring position.

Over to you

We want to know about your MacGyver-esque trailside repairs – the ones that show a bit of lateral thinking, a dash of inspiration and the all-powerful spirit of bodge. We’re particularly interested on ones that don’t involve sticks… We’ll share the best ones with the world, in the hope that they might come in handy for someone else one day.

Send a description and a picture (that’s important – we want stuff that you’ve actually done and has worked) to us at the usual address

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bodge_cablesplint_before_lo (9K)

bodge_cablesplint_after_lo (9K)

Before (top) and after

We’re noticing a distinct theme to your bodged trailside repairs – cable ties and sticks. Clearly if you’re looking for a universal repair kit, you need to make sure that you (a) carry plenty of cable ties and (b) ride in woodland areas.

This week’s top bodge comes from Roger Wayte of well-known club Berks On Bikes (www.bobmbc.com):

There were 21 of us doing a trail starting and finishing in Basingstoke via Watership Down. The furthest point of the 34-mile trip was a granny ring climb to get onto Watership Down. At the top is quite a nice long blast but it was at this point my front mech cable outer split leaving me jammed in my granny ring. Since I was the one closing the gate (I’m usually the slowest up the hills!), everyone had disappeared over the horizon, although we are a responsible club and they waited for me a mile or so further on. I needed to effect some repair so that the ride could carry on (with me). The outer was fixed using two pieces of wood and three cable ties. The repair was effective enough for me to ride all the way back without compromising speed or general lunacy.

Splendid work. We’ve seen this done with plastic tyre levers and tape, too. One well worth remembering…

Over to you

We want to know about your MacGyver-esque trailside repairs – the ones that show a bit of lateral thinking, a dash of inspiration and the all-powerful spirit of bodge. We’ll share the best ones with the world, in the hope that they might come in handy for someone else one day.

Send a description and a picture (that’s important – we want stuff that you’ve actually done and has worked) to us at the usual address

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bodge_mechstick_hi (18K)

Get stuck in

There ought to be a mountain bikers’ version of the old Scissors, Paper, Stone game that hinges upon Sticks and Derailleurs. There can’t be many riders who haven’t lost a mech or three to errant branches. Typically they get into the wheel, get pulled round into the mech and then something inconvenient snaps.

Jeff Antram got off lightly, though. The branch in question just broke the B-tension adjuster on his XTR derailleur. Not the end of the world, but it did result in a distractingly flappy derailleur that had a strong tendency to constantly bounce off bits of the frame.

But, swiftly channelling the Spirit of Bodge through the Shield of Poetic Justice, Jeff ziptied the very branch that had caused his mechanical woes on to the chainstay to hold the derailleur in just the right place. Lovely job…

Over to you

We want to know about your MacGyver-esque trailside repairs – the ones that show a bit of lateral thinking, a dash of inspiration and the all-powerful spirit of bodge. We’ll share the best ones with the world, in the hope that they might come in handy for someone else one day.

Send a description and a picture (that’s important – we want stuff that you’ve actually done and has worked) to us at the usual address

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bodge_tyrelever_lo (18K)

Not pretty, but it worked

So there we were, happily trundling along on the second day of the TransWales stage event. One of the key considerations on a seven-day event is looking after your bike – there’s limited scope for mending or replacing things. Obviously we had the usual selection of trail spares – cables, inner tubes, that kind of thing. But strangely enough we weren’t carrying around a spare £165 SRAM X.0 rear mech…

We’d already passed a couple of riders who’d lost derailleurs on rocks or in undergrowth, and I was definitely wary of such things – we were a long way from anywhere, full suspension bikes don’t generally lend themselves to singlespeed bodges and there were another five days to do after this one.

But everything was working well, the trails didn’t seem to aggressive and a good time was being had by all. Until I started to have problems with an intermittently noisy transmission – it sounded like it wasn’t in gear properly, although it felt like it was shifting OK and it wasn’t slipping or jumping. A pause for closer inspection revealed that the chain had jumped off the bottom jockey wheel and was running alongside it instead of on it.

Now, that ought to be impossible – the mech cage completely encloses the jockey wheel and leaves the chain nowhere to go. So I was a bit bewildered – everything looked normal, how was it happening? And then the penny dropped – comparison with another mech revealed that the bottom bit of the X.0′s carbon fibre cage plate had neatly snapped off, leaving the bottom of the jockey exposed and letting the chain leap off over the bumps.

Riding on, it became increasingly annoying. The chain would bounce off the jockey and start rattling along, I’d try and bounce it back on by hopping the bike, which would sometimes work but more often not, so I’d have to stop and put it back. I tried staying in the big ring all the time to keep the chain tension up, but that just made my legs hurt. Something had to be done.

Resources were limited, but a rummage through the pack revealed a set of three plastic tyre levers, complete with conveniently hooked ends. A dry run with a bit of insulation tape looked promising, so some zipties were brought into play and presto – a high-tech moulded nylon derailleur cage.

It worked, too. It took a bit of fine-tuning of the position, but once it was sorted it lasted the rest of the week. I’ve done a few bodged repairs in my time, but I’m quite proud of this one…

Over to you

We want to know about your MacGyver-esque trailside repairs – the ones that show a bit of lateral thinking, a dash of inspiration and the all-powerful spirit of bodge. We’ll share the best ones with the world, in the hope that they might come in handy for someone else one day.

Send a description and a picture (that’s important – we want stuff that you’ve actually done and has worked) to us at the usual address

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Oops

If you’ve been riding bikes for any length of time, especially with a group, you’ve probably encountered an almost-terminal mechanical failure by now. And if someone’s bike packs up out in the boonies, you need some way to get out again, an imperative that can lead to all sorts of imaginative bodges.

This, for example, is Ben’s back wheel. Ben probably has a surname, but that’s not important right now. He was riding in Cannock Chase with Norman Morrison and some other riders when that sizable branch conspired to find its way into his wheel, ripping out 24 spokes and leaving a paltry eight intact.

After the initial amazement and amusement had subsided, the issue of how to traverse the 10km back to the cars was raised. The initial plan was to drive a car somewhat nearer, but a motorbike accident in Cannock put paid to that idea.


Plenty of spares

A quick burst of lateral thinking later, though, and Ben’s bike was dismantled and the frame and wheels attached to the backs of other riders with Camelbak straps and spare inner tubes. Meanwhile a rider known only as Mark gave Ben – “thankfully now without his Stiffee,” says the ever-subtle Norm – a “backie” (or “seater” depending on regional affiliation) to get him home.

Good effort, chaps. Anyone else got any inspired self-rescues or top-quality “field repairs”? Tell us all about it – include pictures and we’ll run the best ones here…