Out of Line

While I continue with yoga class every morning to improve my alignment, Oma’s alignment has gotten way out of whack.

No, it has nothing to do with stuffing her pannier full of Chipotle and wine.  One unfortunate event caused her current crooked state.  On Sunday, I stood Oma up on a grassy area in the park.  Due to rain the night before, the ground was saturated and soon Oma toppled and fell on her side with a crash.  I think this was the first time she has ever fallen like that, since her double-footed kickstand is super heavy-duty.

I picked her up, dusted her off, and went on with my business.  But later while biking home, I noticed a problem after about a mile.  (Obviously, I am not very observant.)

See how the handlebars are squared to the front, but the wheel is tilted to the right?

And how the wheel is pointing straight to the front, but the handlebars are off to the side?

Yeah, that’s not good.

And this morning I noticed that my pedals are out of alignment.  The right side is pushed way in and the left side is sticking way out.

Funny enough, Oma continues to ride pretty normally.  Knowing me, I could continue riding her like this for at least a year or two, but I’m determined to fix this problem in a respectable timeframe.

But this is not like when Betty Foy falls and knocks her fenders out of line – that’s a problem I can fix easily and quickly. Oma’s solidness is a double-edged sword.  She refuses to budge from this new position.  I attempted in vain today to kick the pedals and push the handlebars back in line.  I suppose I will enlist Mr. Dottie’s help in the morning or just drop Oma off at the bike doctor in the afternoon.

Has your bike ever gotten out of line?   If so, how did you fix it?

{Please pardon the puns and gratuitous use of my camera’s tilt-shift feature.  A nerdy girl’s gotta have her fun.}

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23 thoughts on “Out of Line

  1. fourpences says:

    I’ve had the crooked handlebars thing happen to my Pashley after a crash- I just loosened the stem bolt a little (like you would to raise the handlebars) and managed to straighten her out again. Not sure what to do about those pedals though!

  2. dukiebiddle says:

    The handlebars thing happens to every bike eventually, and is no big deal. It just needs someone to pinch the wheel firmly between their knees and then wrench the handlebars in place, and then maybe tighten the stem bolt a bit. The crank arm looks a bit more serious, but too might just need a minor adjustment.

  3. dukiebiddle says:

    The handlebars thing happens to every bike eventually, and is no big deal. It just needs someone to pinch the wheel firmly between their knees and then wrench the handlebars in place, and then maybe tighten the stem bolt a bit. The crank arm looks a bit more serious, but too might just need a minor adjustment.

  4. Gemma Piper says:

    Not long ago I noticed my handlebars were out of line. I think mine had gradually happened (not sure how) but although it was minimally crocked to start with it got to a point where I was cycling and it just felt uncomfortable, and my shoulder began to ache where I was cycling slightly twisted. Thankfully like fourpences I was just able to loosen the stem bolt and straighten it out with the help of my hubby. Amazing what a difference straightening it made, felt like I didn’t have to lean a certain way. Mine was probably exaggerated by the handle bar bag I have though but I definitely recommend getting it sorted pronto. Never had any issues with pedals before, think I’d really struggle if they were like that! Anyway hopefully Oma will be back to her old self soon enough.

  5. mulveyr says:

    While brute-forcing handlebars is often a quick fix, you really should do it right, and as was noted below, loosen the stem bolt to straighten up the bars. It takes about 30 seconds to do.

    For the crank – you do NOT want to be forcing it back and forth, because you’re putting a huge amount of pressure on the bottom bracket that it was never intended to deal with. If the left and right sides are offset by the same amount, then you may already be having bottom bracket issues that need to be rectified sooner rather than later.

  6. Fred Smith says:

    It looks a bit serious for just falling over on to grass unless something was loose to begin with…

  7. Like a few others have experienced, my hybrid’s handlebars got out of alignment thanks to a crash. Loosening the stem bolt and pushing them back into position fixed everything right up. For the pedals, yeah, I’d hit up a bike shop for assistance with those…

  8. Archergal says:

    Agree with the others re the handlebar: happens relatively often, you can probably wrench it back by standing in front holding the front wheel steady between your knees and muscling the handlebars back straight. And check your stem bolt (the one that holds the stem to the bike, not the one under the handlebars) for tightness.

    The crank’s a bit more worrisome to me. If the crank or the bottom bracket (that the crank fastens onto) is bent, that’s bike-shop repair for most of us. :(

    BTW, I’d never be able to ride a bike with the handlebars out of
    alignment. a) it would drive me CRAZY that they were crooked and b) I’d
    worry that my handling in an emergency situation might be affected. In
    normal riding, you have plenty of time to compensate for the position of
    the handlebars. In an emergency situation, you might not. A bent crank MAY not be as critical though, as long as there’s no damage. I remember riding bikes with bent cranks as a kid. But get down close and inspect the one that’s pushed in abnormally far. Make sure there are no cracks at any part of it, especially the part where the pedal connects and where the crank connects to the bottom bracket. Having a crank fail in traffic could really ruin your day.

    Sorry that happened! Probably the falling weight of the bike and/or the surface it fell on has something to do with the level of damage caused. :(

  9. Trisha says:

    I was wondering how you were getting that camera effect! I think it’s fun.

    Like others I’ve had that problem with my handlebars before, although it wasn’t so extreme — I can’t believe that she is rideable like that. Oma is quite a bike. Hope that the pedals are as easily fixed. As you said, a heavy-duty bike is a double-edged sword; I doubt that a fall onto grass would have put a lighter bike out of whack like that.

  10. OldBikeRider says:

    As Archergal suggests, a broken crank could ruin your day – please inspect!
    Good news might be that it looks like it’s a “cottered” steel crank arm. Steel
    will bend more than a alloy, can be removed easily, and is cheap to replace – all this is, of course, relative. HA!
    As an alternative to taking the whole bike in, you could remove the arm from the bottom bracket shaft – a little nut holds the cotter pin, remove nut & pin – and take just the arm w/pedal to the shop for a replacement – arm lengths vary.

  11. steve_a_dfw says:

    What you need is a bicycle chiropractor.

  12. Archergal says:

    OldBikeRider, I can’t find a picture good enough for ME to tell if the cranks are cottered or not. I’d be a little surprised if they were, since that’s kind of old technology, but since I’m not that familiar with this bike’s specs, I just dunno.

    IME, removing a cotter pin isn’t always quite as easy as you make it sound. :) But IANABM (I am not a bicycle mechanic). I just play around with fixing my own.

    It’d still be a good idea to get it checked, just to make sure you’re safe.

  13. Ray Ochitwa says:

    Loosen the stem bolt, align the handlebars correctly, tighten the stem bolt again. Don’t know what to do about the crank/pedal misalignment though – I’ve never had it happen to me and I’ve crashed quite a few times in my biking career! I have bent the forks on the circa ’80 Apollo “ten-speed” that I took over from my Dad when I got back into riding as an adult. I just straightened them out myself, eyeballing it. Although all the bikes I’ve bought as an adult have been aluminium, one nice thing about steel is that, even if the frame itself is out of alignment a good bike shop should have no trouble getting it straight again.

  14. DawnT says:

    You’re so funny…. a whole mile before you noticed? :) That’s funny.

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