Tag Archives: pedal

Building an Emergency Pedal

This was something I put together years ago.  I just ran across it while I was working in the garage and thought I’d pass it along.

I was on my way to have a free meal and after that was going on a bike ride.  I was riding my tallbike, and about a mile from where I was heading my pedal broke off.  I don’t remember that I even felt it going.  If I did feel it start to go, it didn’t give me more than a block or two warning.  The whole spindle broke off leaving me no way to pedal.  Fortunately although I was miles from any bike shop, I was just a couple blocks from a hardware store.  I didn’t want to walk home or miss my bike ride, so I stopped in at the hardware store to see what I could come up with.  I guess I was hoping to come up with some pedals.  Sometimes hardware stores will have a few bike parts, but this one didn’t.

After looking around a bit, I came up with a plan.  I grabbed a large stove bolt, a large washer, a lock washer and a nut.  I figured that would give me a spindle, but I’ve ridden with just a spindle before and it ain’t a lot of fun.  Your foot always wants to roll off of it because it doesn’t spin.  So I set about trying to find something I could slide over the bolt.  I couldn’t find anything the right size, so I asked an employee if they might have a short length of PVC.  He brought me in back and let me pick a piece out of a scrap barrel.  I grabbed a couple more nuts to hold the PVC on and went up to the counter to even up.  I think it cost me about $5 for the parts.

I went out to my bike and got to work putting it all together.  I always carry a 6″ adjustable wrench, so I didn’t have any trouble getting the rest of the old pedal out.  I slipped the stove bolt through the crank arm and then slipped the washers on.  I tightened the nut on until the square section of the bolt bit into the aluminum of the crankarm and the lockring flattened out.  Now it wasn’t going anywhere.I slipped the PVC on and then put the other two nuts on.  I must have had another wrench on me because I tightened the two nuts against each other with enough room to allow the PVC to spin without having it slide back and forth on the bolt. 

I rode to my free meal, arriving just a little bit late.  After my meal I went on my bike ride, and then rode home.  Near as I can figure, I put about 20 miles on that “pedal” before I got home.  I think I might have actually ridden it that way for another day or two before I got a replacement crankarm on there.  I’m sure the original crankarm would have been fine, but I guess I wanted to keep the evidence (which is why I can provide a picture of it now.) 


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