(Finding) Happiness In Chains (Just For Cyclists)

Rusty bike chain

No, it wasn’t this bad. (Photo: Jonathan Ruchti)

A good, reasonable length ride criss-crossing the territory between Reading and Oxford, mainly in lanes and largely quiet – and with the added simple pleasure of a new chain making it all that much more smooth. Whatever you do for chain upkeep, you can never replicate the ‘feel’ of a brand new chain with just the factory lubricant on it, that’s never been rained-on and not yet picked up any grit and grime. If you’ve cleaned everything else thoroughly, I think it’s a real fillip. I’m not sure whether that means I’m ‘in tune’ with my bike or just a bit sad: that’s one for others to decide.

I’d changed just the chain on my ‘workhorse’ Bianchi Nerone the other day, without changing the cassette or chain rings. The chain I was taking off was just about showing 1% wear and I was prepared to have to change the rest of the drive-train too, but today’s ride confirmed what an earlier little test ride suggested: it was fine.

I keep a track of miles ridden and routes, but I don’t log bike maintenance – what part’s done what distance and so on. Perhaps I ought to, but there you go. However, I’m pretty sure this is the second time I’ve put a new chain on the current set of chainrings, and that it’s the third chain for the cassette.

I’ve long suspected it but the lesson seems to be confirmed: if you keep an eye on the chain and change it regularly before it wears too much, you can save yourself a fair bit of money by not having to replace the rest at the same time.