Hougang, 20 km. The tell-tale signs were there. Over 500 km ago, my chain would, while being cleaned, do a little skip as I spin the crank backwards. Figuring it was a stiff link, I ignored it. Until last night. Instead of a little skip, it does a big leap upward then jams. It seems to behave itself when I ride though. Should I risk it in Borneo next week, all 800 km of it? Being pusillanimous (or is it prudence?), I call bikeshop man today. He closes shop at 11 pm, so I cycle after work to meet him. Bicycle creaks with excitement especially when I stand on the pedals. I describe the symptoms to him. He spins here, spins there, but the chain behaves well and spins silently compared to the roaring embarrassment I feel.
Desperate, I say, “look, it’s as if some of the cogs are bent, see how they tilt”. He removes the wheel and says, “look, the cassette is so loose I can remove the nut (referring to the cassette, not me) with my bare hands”. He tightens the nut. $4 for his labour. And off I go. Back home, the chain still does a little jig. And so do I.