Best-laid plans of cycling giants

Tom Allen, of Tom’s Bike Trip fame and currently leading a bikepacking tour of the Transcaucasian Trail in Armenia, has suffered a mechanical midway through the tour. And oh, what a mechanical!

Muddy bike wheel with broken derailleur
Rear derailleur is not supposed to look like that

That’s one derailleur that’s not going a single kilometer further. And proof that it’s not just newbies who get done in by a derailleur failure. (Although I’m sure in the case of Tom — with his more than 20,000km of riding over more than 50 countries — the damage wasn’t exacerbated by a totally amateur mid-ride readjustment.)

With the help of a fellow rider, it looks like Tom will be back on the road, albeit with a single-speed bike until he’s able to get a replacement derailleur. (He’s removed the derailleur completely and cut the chain down to fit on a single front chainring and rear sprocket combo.)

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#BikepackingArmenia Day 4: The tough mudder • My co-guide Pete, who amongst other things has cycled from England to New Zealand and completed the Silk Road Mountain Bike Race, said today that he’d never seen so much mud in his life. It certainly has been a sticky, squelchy day, like few I can remember, with most of the group ending up sprawled in the mud at various points throughout the day. But then we have entered Tavush province at the turn of autumn. Mud is absolutely to be expected! • One upshot of all the mud is that my rear derailleur got caught in my spokes and snapped clean in half (see my story for more on this). It could have been worse – I could have lost several spokes in the process – but it did mean I had to rise single speed for most of the day. A quick look at the elevation profile of today’s ride will hopefully indicate how practical this was! • Tomorrow we hope to reach Dilijan, where a new derailleur should hopefully be waiting. Because I’ve realised I do quite like having gears… • #BikepackingArmenia ?? From September 7–22 I’m leading a group of intrepid bikepackers on the first attempt to ride the Transcaucasian Trail across Armenia. On the way, we’re attempting to raise $10,000 USD to complete the blazing and marking of the trail. This ride is a life ambition and the cause is extremely dear to my heart, so please give generously! Link in Instagram bio, or visit the campaign page here: • • • • • • #TranscaucasianTrail #Caucasus #SouthCaucasus #Armenia #bikepacking #cycling #adventure #cycletouring #bike #mtb #travel #biketouring #bicycletouring #adventurecycling #trailblazing #fundraiser #hikearmenia #livelovearmenia #visitarmenia #tw

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So come now: how many of us carry a spare derailleur, even on the most adventurous of rides? For Lejog the only spares I carried were inner tubes, and following that experience the only addition I’m likely to make to that list is the inclusion of small bottles of chain degreaser and lube.I’m sure Fearless Leader Joe (and Koga Ambassador Alee Dunham) will point out this is all just advertising for Rohloff hubs

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