How to fix a broken bicycle chain in minutes

How to fix a broken bicycle chain in minutes

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If like me you’re relatively new to cycle commuting, you may not know to fix a broken bicycle chain. I didn’t, and it wasn’t until I was around 4-miles from home, with my cargo bike which was heavily ladened with gardening tools, that not knowing let me down…

The problem

I had just left a meeting in Oxford and for an unknown reason to me (I now understand why) my chain kept slipping between gears and even fell off a few times.

It wasn’t until I started on an incline though that my chain just gave way and snapped. It was dark, I was on a narrow cycle path with cyclists whizzing past on their commutes home and most of all – I was stuffed!

Not only did I not have the knowledge of how to fix a broken bicycle chain, but I also didn’t have the tools to do so either.

I had two options. Walk the bike back home or call a friend with a truck to come to pick me up. Since New Year, I have survived without getting into a car or van. With a normal bike, I would have walked, but with the cargo bike it had to be a call to the friend, but boy did I feel like I had let myself down.

The next day I went to my local bike show to find out how to fix a broken bicycle chain and bought the tools needed to do the job. Now I carry them with me everywhere I cycle so as not to be caught out again.

How to fix a broken bicycle chain on the side of the road

It turns out that all I needed was two pieces of kit to fix my broken bicycle chain. A set of Quick Links and a chain tool. That along with a quick explanation of what I needed to do from the bike shop owner and I was on my way back home to fix my chain.

The night before getting the tools and even on the ride back to fix the cargo bike, I was really anxious and not sure I would be able to fix it, but 5 minutes after arriving back the chain was fixed and I had a new skill and a new tool to get me back on the road if it ever happens again.

Here is a video of how to remove the broken link with the chain tool and how to fit a pair of quick links. In fact, this video goes into quite a bit of detail on chain issues, so grab that popcorn and get learning!

As easy as 1-2-3

I actually found this easier and quicker than fixing a puncture. It was as simple as…

  1. Finding the damaged link,
  2. Removing it with the chain tool and,
  3. Fitting the new quick link.

Here is a picture of my successful fix – excuse the grubby fingers!

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