In Which We Learn the Importance of Routine Bicycle Maintenance

This is what happens when you bicycle commute daily for about three years and don’t change your rear cassette:

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Let’s take a closer look:

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Can you tell what my favorite gears are?

I suspect that much of this wear happened after getting to Liberia; after all, I’m getting sand kicked up there all the time because Monrovia is right on the coast.  The streets have sand on them all the time.  That’s how I can tell where it’s safe to ride–the sand on the side of the road shows generally where the cars don’t go.

It took a while to get the new cassette, then I realized I couldn’t get it off without a cassette tool.  That took a while, too.  I did not use a chain whip, although I was about to make one.  I held on to the cassette with a pair of vise grips.  Sure, it bent one of the sprockets, but I wasn’t going to be using it again.

I think this will probably have to become an annual maintenance event.  If nothing else, I’ll be sure to check the cassette monthly to avoid this sort of wear and the attendant slipping chain.

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