It was a glorious sunny day last Sunday. My husband and I headed for the hills outside Columbus IN to check out the route for a ride we’re leading next weekend.

Our ride started out great – but 6 miles out, our tandem started to shift on its own. Not a good sign. We were just about to head into the hilly area where we’d need to do a lot of shifting. 

Frayed Derailleur CableWhen this has happened before, it’s been a sign of a frayed rear derailleur cable. Yep –  that’s what it was. We headed back to our van where we had all the parts and tools to fix the bike, including a repair stand. 

About once a year, usually in late May, we need to replace the rear derailleur cable on the tandem. (Recommended Maintenance Chart) This year it happened a little earlier than usual.  Tandems are maintenance hogs – parts wear out much faster than on single bikes. It’s helpful to have basic mechanical knowledge when you ride a tandem so you know what to look for to prevent problems and how to make repairs on the road. BGI offers maintenance classes so you can keep your bike in top riding condition as well as know when you need the experts to help. 

While my husband replaced the cable and got the bike shifting properly again. I bought lunch. We went to plan B. We didn’t feel like trying to do the 36-mile route we had originally planned (which would have us riding a total of 48 miles). We rode a shorter route, but enough to challenge us before we headed back home. 

We saw some wonderful redbud trees along the way. We rode a total of 37 miles.  We hope the ride we lead people on next week won’t have any surprises.

Tools used to fix the derailleur cable: spare rear derailleur cable for tandems, cable stretcher, multi-tool with allen wrenchs, cable cutter, repair stand.  The expert mechanics in BGI’s Service Department can help you choose the best tools for on-the-road repairs.

Connie Szabo Schmucker
Advocacy Director
Bicycle Garage Indy