Unchained: How To Get Your Chain Back On!

Unchained: How To Get Your Chain Back On!

The beauty of cycling is it’s simplicity but if you’ve ever gone out for a ride and found that your chain has slipped off halfway through your journey, you’ll understand that even the simple mechanics of a bicycle can give a cyclist a headache – that is until now. Here, we’re going to go through some of the quickest and easiest fixes that you can do on the go to keep your wheels turning, without any stress at all.

First things first, we’re going to go over a few basic terms, explaining some of the key parts of your chain assembly: what they’re called, where they are and what they do. If you’re a regular cyclist, then you may know this already but if you’re just a casual rider, some of these terms may sound confusing. To make things easy, we’re going to show you some words and pictures that you’ll definitely be reading again in future to make sure that you know what we’re talking about!

The Chainring

The chainring, also known as a ‘chainwheel’, is a sprocket (or one of many) that’s attached to crank. Most bikes have more than one chainring, mounted together on a hub near the pedals. The chain will sit on these chainrings and also attach to cog on the rear wheel. The number of chainrings multiplied by the number of cogs will equal the amount of available gears that you have on your bike, with each combination providing a different gearing. A lot of modern bikes have a lot of chainrings and cogs, meaning that the gear combinations can reach an incredibly high number!


This tricky word is pronounced ‘dee-ray-lure’ and is used to describe a mechanism that allows the chain to move from one chainring or cog to another by derailing it! Your bike will have derailleurs at the front and the rear of the whole chain assembly, one focusing on moving the chain across the chainrings, while the other moves the chain across the cogs at the back. It’s not quite a clutch but it’s the closest thing to one that a bicycle has. You do have to be pedaling to engage the derailleurs though, so keep that in mind!

5 Steps To get You Back On The Road!

So you’ve been riding along quite happily until…clunk! Your chain has suddenly become disengaged and you’ve got no tools to hand. Can you fix it? Nine times out of ten, the answer will be ‘yes’, providing that you know what you’re doing. Read on to learn how!

The first thing that you can do is try to change gears; if the chain has come off whilst on the smaller chainring, it’s possible to use your gears to move it onto the larger chainring. It’s not always possible to do this but it’s the first thing that you should try. The important thing to remember is that this can only be done while you’re still in motion! Pedaling out of the situation may be possible but it’s not a guarantee!

When the gear trick doesn’t work, there’s nothing left to do but dismount and assess the situation from a stationary position. Use the gear levers to move the derailleurs into a position so that they engage the smallest chainring and cog and the front and back respectively.

Next, use your left to push the rear derailleur forward; you can move them with a gentle push and this allows the chain to become slack. Try and get as much slack as you can because a loose chain is easier to maneuver than a tight one!

While you’re holding the derailleur, use your right hand to grab the chain and lift it on to the small chainring. As soon as it’s seated correctly, you can release the rear derailleur and your chain should be ready to rock and roll.

If you encounter any more problems, it’s probably easier to take the bus or train home and re-evaluate the situation with some tools on hand. Failing that, take your bike to your regular mechanic and get the problem looked at by a professional!

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