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Mechanical > Trail Fixes: How to Fix Your Mountain Bike With Sticks

Any mountain bike guide worth their salt will carry a heavy pack, full of tools and a variety of bolts, nuts and washers. Next time you are on a holiday ask your guide if you can feel the weight of their pack and you will get an idea of what I am talking about. These are the tools of our trade, along with our bikes, maps, first aid, spare clothes and a myriad of other equipment chosen to ensure you complete your ride safely. Sometimes though, the right tool for the job isn’t contained within this Aladdin’s cave of mountain bike paraphernalia, sometimes, (just sometimes), we need to look to Mother Nature to fix our bikes. So, read on to read my tips for fixing your mountain bike with sticks.

Sticky Fix #1: Front Mech Fix

This is a classic stick fix. Your shifters have packed in or the cable has snapped, what do you do? Well, first of all you can wind in the low limit screw, this will give you the smallest chainring, and that’s great for climbing, but to get a bit more range you will need to find a stick of the right size. Jam the stick between the mech and the frame to give you the second, (or even 3rd) chainring, and you will easily get all the way home.

Sticky Fix #2: Replacement Rear Jockey Wheel

This was a great fix, in conjunction with Mr Stuart Wilson, a guest who visited us in 2009. His rear jockey wheel dropped out and, despite searching for ages, we couldn’t find it anywhere. I did actually have a spare bolt for a jockey wheel but we ended up turning to the all bountiful Mother Nature for our salvation. The right sized stick was forced through the holes and we used a zip tie to make sure it didn’t come loose. We put lots of oil on the stick and chain but we discovered that we were lucky to have chosen a self lubricating stick, with plenty of oily sap! We finished the ride and replaced the part that evening. Stuart must have been happy with the sticky fix because he returned in 2010, with friends, and has just booked again for 2011!

Sticky Fix #3: Broken Brake Lever Pivot

A broken brake lever is a fairly common occurrence. Sometimes you are unlucky and the brake lever itself breaks, sometimes you are even more unlucky and the lever body breaks but often you get lucky, and it’s just the pivot bolt that breaks, and that is where this fix comes in! All you need is to get a stick of the right size, ideally slightly tapered, and put the thin end in first. I find it will normally push down until the first bump, and that this is enough to hold it. If not then put a zip tie around the stick, above and below the lever, to hold it into place, (here I used some tape, for extra ghetto). Pour in some lubricant and, like magic, you have a perfectly working brake. I would always recommend cutting the top of the stick off, so that there is nothing sharp protruding above the brake lever.

Note: I’ve also found that a spare valve from a tubeless wheel fits and it can be held in place with the plastic valve cap. I rather using a stick though.

Sticky Fix #4: The Mythical Fixes

I have heard many ‘sticky fix’ urban myths. People zip tying a big stick to temporarily fix a broken frame, or snapped handlebars is a common one. Let’s just say that Archimedes wasn’t far out, and with the right stick, and a place to stand, you really can move worlds.

If anyone has a sticky fix then please drop me a line and I will put it up here for everyone to see. I’m sure I could dig out a copy of the ultimate mountain bike DVD, Find as a prize for the best sticky fix.

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