"I broke the frame on my mountain bike this morning," I announced in as loud a voice as I could manage, my chest puffing out as I spoke. I noticed the flash of admiration in the eyes of the mechanics working in the back. Two young lasses near me smiled and then nearly swooned as they took full stock of my beefy legs. A lady looking at kid's bikes grabbed her son's hand and pulled him closer to her.
"Wow, dude," said the guy behind the counter breathlessly. "That's awesome."
And awesome it was. Though I'd broken other parts of my bike before, to split one of the chain stays clean in two was a new feat for me and I was proud.
However, when I told people the story or showed them the photo of my broken bike, they didn't want to hear about my awesomeness. All they wanted to know is if I crashed or got hurt.
The answer was no, but they were right on with their concern. And rather than being proud, I should have been grateful that I was so darn lucky to have avoided serious mishap. I was mountain biking near Branson, Missouri, on the White River Trail System in Table Rock State Park when it happened, flying up and down those steep hills, bouncing over rocks, roots and logs. I only noticed that the frame was broken when the rear wheel began to rub and wobble against the frame with each pedal stroke. A complete failure that caused the bike to crack up would have been disastrous and could have sent me to the hospital.
So, it was a reminder again to me of the importance of checking your bike regularly. There are several regular inspections you should do, quick checks before each ride that will help keep you safe. And look over your frame, too, from time to time. In my particular case, I don't know how long the frame might have shown visible signs of stress at that part of the frame right down by the crankset. The bike wasn't much over a year old but I'm a big dude and there is a lot of flex right there on a bike frame. Just little signs of stress, hairline cracks, flecking paint, etc., can be enough to show you you've got a problem worth checking out. Any doubt, take it to a bike shop just to be safe.
Have you ever broken a frame? Have you noticed signs of potential problems with your frame before it got serious? Comment below.
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