I suppose (and always feared) that it had to happen eventually:  a catastrophic bike failure caused by my work as a mechanic.  It could creep up from anywhere, like neglecting to tighten a bolt/screw, not seating the tire bead  properly, not having the derailleur limit screws set well, or from any minute detail of the job not done right.   Resulting in death, injury, or at the very least, annoyance.  My worst professional fear. And this week it finally happened.

Customer came into the shop for a tire change and an accessory install.   30 minute job, one that would not typically  call for  a test ride around the block.  I performed the services requested and sent the customer on his way.

Well as I learned the next day, I must have left the skewers too loose because the gentleman’s rear wheel dislodged and slid forward while he was riding, seizing up the bike.  The bike had those anti-theft skewers which require an allen wrench to open up and close. The good news here is that the victimized customer only experienced annoyance, and not death or injury, from my slip-up.  It could have been worse, much much worse …. sudden wheel seizure, in traffic, maybe taking a turn, or going fast or downhill ….you get the picture.  But luckily no faces met the pavement in this instance.

Still, the incident left me shaken up for days.  I made a pretty huge mistake — my biggest ever as a wrench, as far as I know. Everyone at the shop has been pretty understanding, not pleased of course but understanding, maybe because they see how serious I am taking it, and maybe because they know  that ultimately everyone makes mistakes.

2 Responses to “month 4 update: my biggest wrenching screw-up to date”

  1. Ted Says:

    So here’s something to dissuade your fears, or maybe even make you more paranoid for the future. Those bolt on skewers seem to have pretty soft threads that can get munched up or stripped quite easily… especially if you over tighten it in the least. You can feel like you’ve tightened it perfectly, but if it was munched at all beforehand it’ll just slip out and throw the wheel out of the dropouts. Might have been the customer overtightening their wheel or a strong handed wrench before you. I always pull the nut side off and check out the threads, then clean and grease and tighten it to what I know is right…

  2. זיקריוורדס ישראל Says:

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