You’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with a broken spoke on the drive-side. Now what?
If there are two pieces of advice I’ve given that have resulted in the most discussion on forums, it’s my inclusion of a Cassette Lockring in my touring toolkit, and the 2×4 cassette removal method from my 99 Bike Touring Lifehacks. Well, thanks to my good friend Jonathan from New England Bikepacking, I don’t have to bother demonstrating the viability of either to you myself!
I got a great email from Jonathan the other day:
Yes! Yes! Yes! Jonathan is referring to Tip #97 in my post from last year, 99 Bike Touring Lifehacks. Here’s the tip:
“97. Brace your wheel between your legs, put a sturdy piece of wood like a 2×4 on your cassette’s left side, and hit it down with a rock to release the cassette without a cassette wrench. You’ll still need the little lockring tool, but an auto parts store will have an adjustable wrench to grab the lockring tool.”
I first learned about this little life-hack from a great Youtube video. By great, I mean useful, because the video and audio quality are terrible. Still, it’s a better explanation than any I can write myself, so thank you chrisxed (and son) for posting it!
The premise is awesome; using just the lockring and a borrowed wrench from an auto parts store, you can remove a cassette in the field without a chain whip, which is prohibitively heavy to carry on tour. This would let you thread in a new spoke in the event of a busted one on the drive-side, and it allows you to replace a cog or cassette halfway through a tour with no bike shop nearby. I’ll be taking an extra cog with me most of the time, since my Wolf Tooth 17T only weighs a few grams, and I now have definitive proof that the wooden plank cassette trick works when/if I ever need it.
Sure, it’s a very niche solution to an even more niche problem, but the sense of satisfaction you’ll get if you ever actually need to do this is worth its weight in chain whips.