I've posted this in a couple of places already, so if you've seen this before feel free to skip this thread :)

This one isn't related to cycling safety as such, rather the damage you can do yourself while maintaining your wheels if you use improper techniques.

A couple of weeks ago I was swapping out some pedals on my wife's mountain bike in preparation for a group ride. The pedals that were on there hadn't been removed in years, and were quite stiff. As I was struggling with the spanner, applying a lot of force to try and crack the thread, the pedal suddenly gave, and my hand slipped right into the big chainring.

The result was a 4cm long gash about 4mm deep and 4mm wide, full of grease and road grit.

I'm a massive wuss when it comes to the sight of my own blood so I went inside, in mild shock and on the verge of passing out/throwing up/both, held up my bloody hand and begged my wife to "fix it please".

I didn't know if it needed stitching and I seem to recall from Scouts that if a wound is to be stitched it should be done within 12 hours, otherwise it might not be possible. It was 8pm at night so I ended up going to emergency just in case. No stitches but a drowning in betadine, 10 or so steri-strips and a 10 day course of antibiotics, just in case.

Obligatory gory wound pics:

5 Hours after the incident


All butterfly'd up


A week later


2 weeks later (pretty sweet scar)


In short, when changing pedals, before to push AWAY from the chainring, not towards it. 

Anybody else have gory tales of maintenance misfortune ?

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now that is an accident!

I think I'll stay away from fixies

Don't let that discourage you, really. As long as you're aware of the dangers fixies can be a lot of fun. Until you hit a hill that is. (That's why I have left mine behind in the flat city that is London).

Just follow some basic rules:

  • Have foot retention, i.e. Toe clips or clip ins
  • Depending on your leg strength and how comfortable you are to brake with your legs, have at least one front brake (in case the chain snaps) or two if you have bad knees or weak legs or a massive gear
  • Don't have stuff hanging off you that can get caught in the drive train
  • When maintaining your bike while hand spinning the pedals, keep the other hand and all other stuff well away from the bike

An issue also for children - their bikes are often a tensioned chain - it's a common cause of injuries to fingers.  So our the local regulations, specify chain guards, or for young kids,  the chain be fully enclosed.

Yes, is a bit of an issue, injuries when working on bikes. Tools slip; nuts and bolts are tight but suddely give -   ... .

tips? These are mine  - often honoured in the breach than th'observance....

  • Use the right tool for the job.
  • Clean the bike part of oil & grease, keep tools clean -   so the tool will grip metal, not slip
  • Make sure the component you're applying force to, is firmly supported.
  • Check -  if the component gives suddenly - where your hand's going to end up. maybe reposition?
  • 2 steps First fit the tool properly to the component. Only then,  apply  force to the tool.
  •  To apply force - use open hand - so you can let go fast. Not fist wrapped round the tool. 

Anyone else, got any others?


Mike, some good hints.

Step back and think about what you are about to do, before you do it. Ask yourself can it be done in a safer way?


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