Chainguard choices and runnel run-in

I dropped the Big Dummy off at Ride Bicycles this morning to get a chainguard. For quick projects we hang out in the fish store next door, but this was a bigger job so we walked to nearby Cowen Park. We’ve only visited this park by bike previously and while I left my helmet at the shop, the boys kept theirs on so I arrived at the park on foot with helmeted boys. They ran straight for the zip line so I must have looked like an overprotective mother worried about play structure head injuries.

Another kid showed up in a helmet (though he arrived by bike) so they weren’t alone in their fashion statement for long. And they eventually got too hot and removed helmets and jackets, but not before some “dangerous” stunts on the swings.

We returned to the bike shop to bad news–the chainguard wouldn’t fit. They have a bash guard that will work, but it’s smaller than my current big ring so I’d have to swap that out for a smaller one. I left the shop thinking that was a good idea, but Mr. Family Ride later told me he thought I should leave the original ring set as-is to keep the bike running best. I wasn’t convinced, but after reading the chainguard entry in Sheldon Brown’s glossary, I’m thinking about giving up my quest for a chainguard and rather work on my whining about rolling up my pant leg:

Chainwheel discs, unlike the above styles of chainguard, are usable on bicycles with derailer gearing and multiple chainwheels. They are primarily intended to prevent soiled clothing, since the front derailer tends to keep trouser cuffs from being snagged. Unfortunately, many chainwheel discs interfere with obtaining the best possible front derailer adjustment. Should the chain become derailed on a bike with a chainwheel disc, it may become seriously wedged between the disc and the large chainring. Chainwheel discs are rarely found on high-quality bicycles.

It won’t be such a pain when the weather warms up a bit more and I don’t have to wear long pants and maybe a solution will present itself before next winter.

After shoving my pants back into my boots, we headed to Wallingford Playfield for the monthly Spokespeople ride. I’d been warned we’d check out the 41st Street runnel on the way to the rose garden and considered taking a detour to avoid the hassle, but in the end opted to stay with the group and see how bad it is with a heavy bike. The kids walked up the stairs and someone helped carry the back of my bike (as well as his own bike) while I tried to keep my front wheel on track. I think it wouldn’t be quite so hard if there were runnels on both sides of the stairs so we could walk on the left sides of our bikes as we’re used to. Either way, I won’t be back to the runnel.

There were no roses yet, but there will be soon. It was still a beautiful day to be in the garden.

Then we headed downhill to the Theo Chocolate factory where I let the boys eat so many samples they got a bit crazy. I can only imagine how fast they would have pedaled us back uphill if they were sharing the workload. Some day…

17 thoughts on “Chainguard choices and runnel run-in

  1. Mr Chocolate Hands made me smile, so cute! Oh and that beautiful bike ALWAYS makes me smile- love it! How cool are runnels?!…I’d never heard of them before your blog and I think they are super cool idea now- and I recall seeing them but never giving them a second thought. Thank you for being such an inspiration as always! I really hope I can take the train up your way soon as we have family there and meet for coffee! I need to research Amtrak and long bikes, any idea on that? Cheers!

    • Happy to inspire!! And it’d be wonderful if you came out here. I think the official Amtrak stance is that long bikes must be boxed, but sometimes people show up at the station and are allowed with freerange longtails. I don’t know how complicated it is to box a bike. I think the handlebars may have to be removed. But I think it’s still only a $5 charge.

      I’m undecided on runnels myself, but anything for bikes is good news! I used to bike 40 blocks out of the way to go to a weekly kiddie music class. I don’t think I would have gone through the trouble of unloading the kids and runnelling it even then.

    • Don’t give up on your clothing comfort! Stacy of A Simple Six has a bash guard on her Mundo. I don’t know the brand and if she had to have any fancy stuff done to make it work, but I think your cranks are more bash-guard-friendly than mine are.

  2. Does the Big Dummy have a front derailleur? Is that why they couldn’t fit a chain guard? I was able to fit a vintage Schwinn one to the Joe Bike which has an impossibly tiny front chain ring by cutting up an aluminum realtor sign and creating a brace behind the bottom bracket. You’ll need a crank pull tool to remove the drive side crank arm though which might be more than you’re willing to do. I posted some details about it here if you’re interested in giving it a go.

    • That chain guard is so cool! I do have a front derailleur. I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that chain guards aren’t made for this setup. But I’m working on accepting it…

    • Hee hee! I knew you’d like it and meant to tweet a pic directly to you. 99 cents at Value Village, but I would have paid ten times that! As you can see from the chocolate, he’s a budding face painter, too. Plus he loves skulls (because he thinks they’re owls) so I could easily suit him up for the Black Hole.

  3. One nice thing about stairs on a long bike is that you can ride down a set of stairs just about as slowly as you need to and you don’t have to worry about going head over heels. The only problem I see is pushing a super heavy bike up an incline like that where you have to modulate the brakes to keep from going backward. Also, Sideloaders are a little problematic with the side concrete walls.

    Say, nature school is at Morgan’s house. Email me off directly and I’ll get you an address.

    How cool are the Spokespeople rides? They look like quite a bit of fun.

    • You know me well enough to know I’d never try riding down a flight of stairs! But I can easily picture you doing so :) I had a tall bag in the FreeLoader and it got caught up on the handrail.

      Spokespeople rides are fun! Not kid-oriented like Kidical Mass, but still family-friendly (especially this one!).

      Sorry to miss out on nature school. I’ve been fighting a cold all week so slow to get to emails and not eager to infect friends. Today we went to Kinderfasching at your school. Very fun! Sorry not to see you there (we often crash the German school parties, btw).

  4. I had a chainwheel disk type chain guard for a while and loved it. It kept my pants out of the chain and away from the grime just fine. I swapped the cranks to another bike and put a triple from a mountain bike on the BigD. I never use the big chainring. I’m tempted to buy another double with a disk type chain guard, but the triple with unused big ring works fine.

    Cowen Park is in the top 10 parks I’ve ever been to.

    The couple times I’ve tried to use runnels they’re too close to some sort of handrail posts or wall or something that the wide parts of my bike scrape/hit… rendering the runnel useless for my cargo bike.

    • High praise for Cowen Park! Was the new Golden Gardens play structure in place before you moved? We should go there when you’re in town. No zip line, but it’s much bigger than the old one and right by the beach.

      • I think the new and improved GG play structure was completed shortly before we skipped town but we never saw it.

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