Monday, January 21, 2008

Spo(o)key

Twice, in the past 2 weeks, I have left my bike, virtually certain that the rear wheel is OK, only to come back to it later to find a broken spoke in the rear wheel. Both times, the spoke was a drive side pushing spoke, and the breakage was at the hub, between the bend and the spoke head. The first time, I left it in the Convention Center garage; the second, in my garage at home.

Enough facts, time for speculation:


  1. My wheel is haunted.
  2. I've been right all along, the CIA, FBI, and NSA are after me, and they've got covert black ops guys breaking my spokes. The tin foil hat is going back on my head, thank you.
  3. I don't know if it was the same spoke (I didn't mark its location first time), but if it was, maybe there's some kind of deformation in the hub's spoke hole that's weakening the spoke, and the deformation is such that it continues to exert force on the spoke even after it's not being ridden.
  4. Maybe the wheel has just reached the age at which it has multiple failures, unrelated to each other.
  5. Maybe severe temperature change stressed the spokes beyond their tolerance. But in both cases, the bike was left in its ambient riding temperature.


Explanations 4 and 5 don't explain the main mystery -- how a wheel at rest, with spokes at minimum stress, breaks.

Anyway, I'm taking precautions (beyond the usual plastic surgery and fake identity). I've marked the location of the last broken spoke. We'll see what happens over the next weeks.

I bet you can hardly wait, huh?! Sort of like 24 or Lost, huh?

1 comment:

Kevin Connors said...

That's #61 on my list of excuses not to clean my bike. Had your spokes looked like mine, it would have been easy to detect the new clean spoke!

I've got to tell you that I'm totally paranoid about things that happen to my bike during the day while I work. For example, I have changed flats at the bike stand in the last year 5 times, yet I've only found my tire flat at home 2 times during the same period. In addition, I've found my front and rear quick releases open a couple of times at 2 different parking garages.

Now, someone might be able to convince me that these are just coincidences, but wait there's more: While riding away from my current parking garage, in the last 2 years, I've had 1 brake pad, and 2 derailleur pullys drop off within 3 blocks of the garage.

The good news is that my spokes remain intact.