On Front Brakes And Snapping Chains

I kind of got over telling people what they should or should not do with their lives long time ago.  So when it comes to cycling, I’m not an advocate of helmets, fenders or front brakes.

However, these days I find myself wearing a helmet most of the time while I’m on a bicycle.  And at times when I don’t feel like it, I just don’t wear it.  After all, for most of my life I didn’t wear a helmet, fell off my bike countless times and I’m still here.

I also put on fenders when the weather warrants it.  I don’t know about you but I don’t think cyclocross mud stripes look manly when you are on your fresh pastry run on a rainy Sunday morning.

And I do have a front brake on my fixed gear bicycle. I don’t use it very often but I’m glad it’s there when I need it. Like this morning when my chain snapped.

Snapped chain

Boring technical stuff and guessplanation follows: From the damage I observed it looks like the half-link was made from a weaker steel than the rest of the chain and in retrospect it also wasn’t such a great idea to put it right next to the master link, since its side plates aren’t as tightly pressed together. The result was that at some point one of the half-link’s side plates bent, pushed the rivet out and then it all rapidly disintegrated.

While I adore the clean lines of a brakeless track bike just like the next guy, I’m willing to sacrifice some street cred for moments like this and live to tell about it afterwards.

Whatever your choices are, ride safe.

2 Responses to “On Front Brakes And Snapping Chains”


  1. 1 saman February 17, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    off topic, but my london ex-messenger friend brought me this book. yesterday i found it in pdf so here is the link if you want to see it, really interesting reading: http://www.mediafire.com/?jxxdix02lmu
    after reading it i think the owner of kalavinka keirin bikes would definitely agree with using brakes, heh

  2. 2 themicah February 18, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Scary, especially given the weird noise my chain has been making lately… Took the damned wheel off again last night, oiled and cleaned everything and tried to remount the hub, but still it clicks…

    Oddly, I had a rather frightening equipment failure yesterday as well. The bolt that secures the seat to the seatpost sheared, leaving me with a free riding seat half the way home. A pain in the ass – literally.

    Fortunately, I found a new one in the shop near my office and had the branding scraped off within 5 minutes🙂


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