The Indignity of Being a Mega-Clyde: Broken Spokes

Mega-Clydes face unique challenges that other bicyclists will never know. For example, no matter how powerful and attractive you might appear in a normal photo, when someone takes your picture riding, you will invariably look like a circus bear on a child’s tricycle. Also, nearly every great advancement in bicycle technology in the last 30 years is totally wasted on us because if we attempted to ride a bicycle that only weighs 5 pounds and has a very finely tuned set of gears, it would shatter into a thousand pieces before the end of the first race.

Nearly all Mega-Clydes know these things instinctually, so normally it’s not a problem. There is one thing that we have to deal with that new cyclists might not know however, and I feel that it’s time to talk about it. Mega-Clydes break spokes. Now of course regular Clydesdales will insist that they break spokes too, and even the lightest of riders will have a “one time” story about how after 5 years of intense training they broke a spoke, but that’s not really what I’m talking about.

You see, even when a Mega-Clyde chooses the reinforced 36 spoke wheel (meant for tandem bicycles, usually), he is going to break spokes on a regular basis. I’ve concluded that it isn’t so much the weight alone that causes spokes to snap with that distinctive “boing” sound of a badly tuned banjo, it’s the torque that Mega-Clydes can routinely apply.

Like many Mega-Clydes, I actually like climbing hills on my bicycle. It’s probably the one aspect of bicycling at which I can claim to excel. The reason for this is because this is the only time when muscle becomes more important than aerodynamics. Sadly, this love affair is tempered by the fact that if I really stood up on my pedals and started mashing up the hill as hard as possible, at least half of the spokes on my rear wheel would instantly disintegrate with the “boing” of a minor chord and causing a spectacular accident.

So instead I have to carefully ease my way over bridges and up the occasional hill, looking for all the world like I’m having a really hard time making it and wouldn’t that poor man be better off buying a used truck or something?

The reason that I bring this up is that on my way to work this morning  I stood up to quickly move through an intersection when “boing, bing” I shattered a couple of spokes. That’s all it took; me standing up on the pedals to accelerate across a street. Of course I had to pull over to the side of the road to make sure that enough spokes remained intact to get me to work. The wheel is a little wobbly now, but I think that I might be okay as long as I don’t hit any red lights or potholes on the way home. You just have to get used to this sort of thing as a Mega-Clyde. In fact, the worst part about the whole experience was that after I checked the wheel, I got a little bit of dirt on my breakfast hoagie.


2 thoughts on “The Indignity of Being a Mega-Clyde: Broken Spokes

  1. I’ve always envisioned myself as an over-stuff sausage casing when riding my bike.

    I broke several spokes on the rear wheel that came with my bike. It was a really cool aero wheel that made me feel faster. I couldn’t take it any longer and picked up a set of Mavic CXP 22s. Haven’t broken a spoke or needed a wheel trued in almost two years.


  2. RockWalker

    Truthfully, my “spoke count” has gone down significantly since switching from the standard wheels, but it still amuses me that I am able to cause that much damage.

    “Sausage”? Nay, sir! Mega-Clydes are the penultimate expressions of masculine power! Is it our fault that mere mortals haven’t devised a chariot that can properly harness our power?! I say no, it is not! So fluff your chest (or back) hair proudly and keep mashing those pedals! Spokes be damned!


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