Janathon Day 21: Chain reaction

I don’t know why, when most of my class decided to stay at home today, I decided that as the trains seemed to be ok-ish (apart from one earlier in the morning that was an hour and twenty minutes late), I’d cycle two miles down the dual-carriageway to the station and go to university as normal.

Finding out on a roundabout that my brakes aren’t great wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had and if I’d been able to figure out how to get to the other side of the dual-carriageway without going all the way round the roundabout or getting run over, I’d have turned around and gone home.

Still, because I am a brave little warrrior, I carried on pedalling up the road in the rush hour and managed to stay upright when I got to the cycle paths that were covered in snow and ice.

The departure board said my train was on time. Hoorah. The train did indeed arrive on time and despite the platform being littered with dozens of commuters, only a few got on my train. Man, did those left out in the cold give me the evils or what, as I sat down on the nice warm train? I told Twitter this (I know, a seriously mundane tweet but still better than a lame ‘it’s cold outside’ as far as I’m concerned) and someone (can’t remember who and I’ve cleared my mentions column so I can’t see who it was) tweeted back ‘give them the finger’. I like her style.

I got to Folkestone and cycled my usual way to university, down the road past the florist, around the corner where the motorbike shop is and then down the bit that says ‘buses only’ as it saves me going round the roundabout (I really hate roundabouts) and there have never been any buses going down there since I’ve been cycling that way. The bus lane was a bit snowy and icy and the lights turned to red and because I’m a rare breed of cyclist who knows that red means stop, I stopped. Okay, truthfully, I only stopped because the lights turned red just as someone in a wheelchair went to cross over in front of me and as I put my brakes on, my bike came away from underneath me and I fell onto the kerb. A woman came over and asked if I was okay and I said yes, snow is soft, and she looked at me in a strange manner and continued on her way.

Because my university was only round the corner and because the rest of the journey was down a snowy hill and because I didn’t want to fall off again, I wheeled my bike the rest of the way and locked it up. When university finished (early, because the tutor who was taking us in the afternoon couldn’t make it in), I wheeled my bike back up the snowy slope, climbed on and FUCK IT, THE CHAIN HAD COME OFF WHEN I FELL OFF AND I HADN’T NOTICED.

I texted Shaun and said HELP! I sent an SOS out on Twitter and got a reply back from @jamesk who said to put the bike upside down and yank the chain and rotate the pedals and so I thought I’d try that when I got back to Ashford and maybe someone would see me staring at a chain and looking confused and come over to help and then just before I got off the train, Shaun rang and said put the back gear in third gear and rotate the pedals and so I thought that sounded easier than what James said and didn’t involve putting the bike upside down and so I thought I’d try that and if that didn’t work, get my phone out and see what James had said and when I got to Ashford, I thought about asking the station staff if they could help but decided I would give it a go myself and so I put it in third gear and rotated the pedals and FUCK ME, THAT TOOK ABOUT HALF A SECOND AND IT WORKED! and now I feel all proud for fixing my broken chain all sort of by myself.

Cycling: 6 miles
Times came off bike: 1
Broken chains: 1
Broken chains fixed by ME: 1


  • wow, get you bike mechanic. all that effort makes up for the hungover wall presses of the other day.

  • Big kudos for fixing your bike 🙂 Well done!

  • Very impressed with your technical expertise – hope there’s no bumps and bruises to deal with.

  • Well done, it’s more than I would have managed! But it’s scary when brakes don’t work. I cycled to the gym in a snowstorm one day. After I was done with my training and climbed back on the bike to cycle home, I realised (on a downward slope no less) that my brakes were frozen so they didn’t work. It was downhill all the way home because of course it was. I had to cycle slowly and brake with my feet.

  • Well done for the bike DIY. I’ll remember that 3rd gear trick for the future.

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