Sunday, February 19, 2012

Outdoor bicycle fail

Lighting fail

First, the dynamo on my outdoor bicycle was knocked loose (probably due to a combination of neglect and variety of crazy parking situations). I tightened it up and the front light worked, but not the back light. The little cable was disconnected... I was unable to fix it quickly.

So, I found an old red blinky light and hung it from my saddle as a back light... but it was stolen in a day. The next blinky light was stolen three days later. These lights cost less than one euro, but it's disheartening to have them stolen as frequently as I forget to remove them from my bicycle.

Eventually, on one dark, dark, morning, my back light was stolen again and the dynamo was completely loose and maladjusted. It made a horrible din/scratching noise while powering the front light for about a 20 seconds until failure. I kept readjusting it while riding, cringing at the noise and then being happy when it failed again, frustrated, readjusting, cringing, etc... and luckily, I was not stopped and fined by the police or attacked by angry geese.


A few weeks ago, after a full day of cycling around town on errands, I noticed that the front quick release lever was switched to the open position! I didn't do it... I don't know who did. If I had tried to hop a curb, I might have had a serious accident. Fortunately, there is little need for curb hopping around here. However, for safety's sake, my remembering to check if the quick release is open or not is on par with my remembering to remove the back light. Scary.

Also, the front wheel fender has "lost" a component so one of the connecting posts sticks out at a funny angle and pokes other bicycles when I park. I should really be a good citizen and fix this.


Frozen. Or broken. Hard to tell in this weather! The front one will squeeze weakly but the back brake lever will not move at all.


Same problem as before. I knock the stupid gear lever with my knee when I dismount. When I get back on, it readjusts during my first pedaling effort and freaks me out. It gets me every time. The frame is just too small. And with the winter weather, the chain is rusted and crankyWD-40 or not.


With the brakes failing, I give up. I will be riding the Brompton, or walking. I want something reliable that isn't frozen, broken and that doesn't have parts removed by drunk college students in the middle of the night. I'm not going to suck it up and repair the thing properly until it's warm outside and days are long enough to not require lights.


  1. Have yerself a nice single-speed omafiets with a hub dynamo.

  2. You are absolutely correct... maybe with a nice hub brake, too. Only problem is they are expensive!

  3. @alicia...marktplaats is your friend, seek and ye shall find!

  4. You might want to rethink using WD-40 as a lubricant.

    It is intended to displace water (hence WD) rather than to lubricate and the propellent is primarily a highly volatile hydrocarbon that evaporates into the atmosphere.

    A good cycle-specific lubricant (perhaps one containing a bit of Teflon) would better suit your needs and have less of an environmental impact. (I know that just you using WD-40 isn't going to mess up the environment, but you can have better results with less impact by using something else.)

  5. Yikes, okay! I'll find something specific... thanks for the information!

  6. "It is intended to displace water (hence WD) rather than to lubricate"
    Fill in the blank:

    ___ and water don't mix.

    "A good cycle-specific lubricant"
    3 in 1 oil is a bicycle chain specific, nonpetroleum lubricant in a drip can.

  7. In my experience WD-40 is way better than those ripoff lubricants because the latter cause the cogwheels to wear out much faster (within a year in my case, in spite of using it every week).
    WD-40 repels water which is the only thing needed.
    Also it is legal in Holland to just stick your bicyclelights on your coat or belt instead of on your bike. Really handy.

  8. Have you looked into Pitlock to prevent people from messing with your quick release?