This old ball and chain might be irreplaceable, but our bike chains are definitely replaceable. Once again, I’m very grateful that I’m doing this bike trip with a guy who knows bikes like the back of his hand… or at least, he knows them a lot better than I do.
I have learned over the years that bike chains stretch out and need to be replaced, or they could damage your cassette and probably some other stuff I can’t remember. There is a tool to measure how stretched out your chain is, but you can also just use a ruler. We don’t have either, so we have just asked bike shops to check for us along the way. Indeed, we are now on our third chains of the trip.
However, my chain swaps have not gone very smoothly. The first one happened at a bike shop in Banff. It took me a day or two after the switch to a new chain to realize that I could no longer shift into my highest gear; not cool when I want to wear the yellow jersey. I had no idea why this was the case, until Chris determined that the chain they had put on my bike was too short. I’m still not sure that I understand the mechanics, but fortunately, Chris carries a few spare master links that he put on for me.
In Jackson, I had my chain swapped out again. This time, it took me about 170 miles to notice that the chain had been put on wrong, threaded outside a metal shield on the derailleur. Actually, to put the record straight, I didn’t even notice; Chris did: “Sheesh! No wonder it was so hard for you to pedal!” he exclaimed, as he once again fixed the problem. (I thought I’d just gotten weaker during our long break in the Tetons.)
I am very sorry for anyone who is as oblivious as I am and does not have a Chris to help them along 😆. Anyhow, now I’m running smoothly again. 😊