Just Riding Along - Sunday Comics with Taj Mihelich

May 12, 2019
by Taj Mihelich  

Every bike mechanic has funny stories about customers who were "just riding along" when something failed on their bike (and they usually want a free repair or a warranty). I asked mechanics to share some stories on my Instagram and got tons of funny ones. Thanks very much! I illustrated a few of them for your entertainment.


My down dangler got caught in the wheel strings.
- @space_cadet_ollie


Almost every JRA story is because of a NPA (Not Paying Attention). But some stories are just pure gold. Had a friend's girlfriend come walking her beach cruiser home with the front end of the bike mangled. She claimed JRA, but we discovered the empty box of Franzia and that said enough.
- @synchronicity_iv


Guy with a broken arm and 2 black eyes: “JRA and pulled up, the wheel came out the forks, the forks hit the ground and the springs shot out the top and hit my face as I fell. The bike wasn’t built properly and I’m going to sue.”
Me: “did you buy the bike here?”
Guy: “no...”
- @d2jbmx


"I was just riding along and my weave comes out and it goes right in my chain!" And yep there it was all mangled in the freewheel.
- @ericxbrown


I’ve known customers try and argue a frame warranty, then aforementioned customer ends up with a newspaper article on him being hit by a car while on the same bike they’re trying to get the warranty for.
- @modebmx

MENTIONS: @Tajlucas

Author Info:
Tajlucas avatar

Member since Aug 3, 2018
68 articles

  • 87 4
 I dropped my phone in my coffee while reading this... Just Reading Along
  • 60 0
 After years of hearing JRA stories, one of my favorites was a rental customer who completely owned it when he came in pushing a bike and carrying the chain.

"I broke the chain," he said--and it works best if you realize he looked and sounded a lot like Yosemite Sam.

"Thank you," I said.

"For breaking the chain?"

"No, for getting the subject of the sentence right. Most people say, 'the chain broke', as though they had nothing to do with it," I explained.

"Oh, hell no, I broke it. I was beating the piss out of that thing."

That was one of my favorite customers ever.
  • 47 2
 This is why I never ride along. I rip trails, shred turns, bomb root sections, explode berms and basically hit all the gnar stuff. I just avoid riding along. Everyone I've heard doing that has broken something one way or another. Don't even try to ride along. It is pretty much guaranteed that you'll break stuff.
  • 8 0
 "I was just exploding some berms when..." lol
  • 4 0
 My hero.
  • 17 0
 Some of mine thru the years.

1. customer buys brand new 29er from me.. has it for a few days.. calls to complain getting a flat and because the front brake didn't work all of a sudden.

*****turns out, he slammed into a rock or root, got a pinch flat and when he changed the tube on the trail, he put the front wheel in the dropouts backwards ---brake rotor no worky when it's on the wrong side of the fork ya silly... we had a good laugh about that. and --- hey, flats are flats when you have tubed tires. For some reason, lots of people think their new bikes shouldn't get flat tires

2. I bought myself some brand new XTR gear for my bike (at retail). had it on my bike for at most 2 minutes...trail side stick kicks up, goes into my spokes and rear D. rips the rear D in half, takes out about 4 spokes.

3. Snowshoe 24 Hour race.. buddy of mine and I were riding to the start/finish line, getting ready to go out for our lap. super long and steep road getting there from the condo we were staying at, we were probably doing about 40mph for 4, 5 minutes (all paved downhill). outta the blue we hear a load BAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR noise. well, the pads on his Vbrakes melted from all the heat and flew out and he was metal on metal for a solid 70 yards until he came to a grinding stop . ahh, rim brakes, gotta lover em
  • 2 0
 i never got to witness the 24hrs of Snowshoe. :/ you guys were crazy. crazy as hell.
  • 3 0
 @bikeskibikeski: Ehh, it's not too-too crazy besides just the amount of riding ---- we always did it as a 4 or 5 person team. a 5 person required at least one female rider but, it didn't matter how many laps any one given rider did...... we did all 8(?) of the 24 Hours at Canaan then we did 3 of the Snowshoe... we stopped doing them after that, only because Granny Gear Productions (the host) had lost touch on what makes a fun race environment. aka charged waaay too much money...…….. every year we did see anywhere from 8 to 10 solo riders race those races -- That is crazy as hell. One season our best team did I think 17 laps total --- the guy who won the solo category did 18!!!! -- we found out, he never stopped riding for the entire time. Sam Stamsted I think was his name..... his fuel --- mostly Twinky's
some of us would do 2 laps in a row so we could spend more time resting before we went out again. I preferred the night laps when there seemed to be less riders and shoot, for some reason, I was always a good bit faster at night. my guess was because I didn't see some of the dangerous elements of the course and Id just blast through everything, not knowing the dangers.

----- I tell ya though, those night laps, you'd get some serious tunnel vision riding those courses, totally messed with your head... tall grass would appear cartoon-ish, drops and bumps were totally different than they appeared and if you had someone riding behind you with a more powerful light, that really messed things up for ya
  • 15 0
 Not really just riding along story but there is a pic of fork flying apart: some 15 years ago I witnessed first hand a guy overshooting a jump, bottoming out fork (cant remember which fork, might have been something random/cheap) which exploded upon the landing, tearing off top cap and sending the spring flying up. No jokes, the spring hit the styrofoam layer of his bmx style helmet, so between the hard outer shell of helmet and his head. By some miracle the spring got buried into that layer of foam and didnt even scratch his forehead... Probably the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen.
  • 9 0
 @winko Old r/s judy tt from about the same time forks would do that, had a plastic preload cap so if you wound it on too much it would crack and spring would ejecto on the next hard landing
  • 12 0
 Had a customer come in once with his handlebar ground down to end of the inside of the grip, his Reverb dropper lever ground down half way, and part of his stem ground away (making very difficult to remove/replace). He said he was "just driving along" and then got pulled over by a cop to let him know his bike was being dragged behind his car... How long were you driving like that?!
  • 1 0
 I dragged my daughter's bike on Rt 128 on our way from Moab to Fruita. Front wheel, handlebar and shifter were ground to a lethal sharpness. Jerry move. We had to rent her a bike for the day and she ended up with upgraded parts.
  • 18 10
 "Car hits cyclist" is an inaccurate statement unless the car rolled down a hill with no driver.

Who do we assign the responsibility for the action toward, an inanimate object, or the person in control of the object?

Drivers of vehicles that hit things get a free pass on this all the time.

Now chew on this: "Self-driving car hits cyclist"?

Language matters. But chill, it's Sunday.
  • 28 0
 Reads like a super intense internal monologue.
  • 4 0
 Very good point! I’ve never thought of this before. Wow Sunday morning expanded mind!
  • 5 4
 "Car hits cyclist" is a perfectly correct statement even if it happened intentionally. Whether it is journalistically appropriate is of course an entirely different question.

If you're gonna smart-ass, smart ass properly.
  • 6 1
 Doesn’t the cartoon say “cyclist hits parked car?”

Stay woke, man.
  • 1 0
 @north-shore-bike-shop: Check the articles on the cyclist fatality on Eslplanade a couple months back. Most of them were "truck hits cyclist" Frown
  • 7 0
 I worked at a shop near a college I was attending in a small town. I frequently witnessed what I called the "curb club" - front wheel up and the rear clubs the curb. I lost track of the times I would actually see the offender in the morning on the way to class then see them again as a customer that afternoon with a pinch flat, mangled wheel, etc with a JRA explanation every time, haha.
  • 9 0
 JRA's cousin when a bike is abused:

But it's CALLED a mountain bike.
  • 5 0
 My favorite is a customer called and asked
"My son was just riding along and the metal tubes in the back sheared off, can you fix it?"

Me "So the frame is broken?"

"No the frame is fine. It's just the metal tubes in the back sheared off."

"You'll have to bring it in and let me look at it"

Sure enough both chainstays were snapped off at weld and dragging on the ground, kid rode it the whole way home like that.
  • 6 0
 Ok, the just riding along and your derailleur somehow ending up in your spokes is real! I’ve seen it happen quite a few times!
  • 3 1
 Had it happen during an xc race way back in 02! Destroyed my XO derailleur.
  • 1 0
 I've done it with my Deore derailleur
  • 1 0
 SRAM X9 but it must have been loose, anywho JRA and desided to throw in a couple of power strokes for an upcoming slight incline, next thing back wheel grinds to a sudden halt and lm fishing out my bent derailleur from bent spokes, good thing I carry pliers.
  • 1 0
 I once rode away and shifted a few times, broke the rear mech hanger so the rear mech got dragged along with the chain, damaged all right side rear wheel spokes and smashed into the front mech.
  • 2 1
 Bent hanger, bad limit adjust, or both. Literally every bike I've ever worked on suffered from some combination of these two. If you or your mechanic isn't checking the hanger every time then you might look for a new mechanic...
  • 1 1
 @fullfacemike: Yeah, it was when I had been riding for only a few months. I've been crashing loads back then and was on an aluminium frame with a replaceable aluminium mech hanger. I was told I could bend it back once, after that it needed to be replaced as it couldn't be bent back a second time (due to hardening/fatigue). I think I bent this hanger back a second time on a ride as I didn't carry a spare and needed to get home. Bad idea, apparently. After breaking all this, I never bent a hanger back a second time. I've been riding this frame for four years or so and during that time I have collected two jars of bent hanger, must have been about 40 of them. At 10 euro a piece, this does add up especially for a frame worth only 200 euros. I've never ever used a replaceable aluminium mech hanger again. My next two hardtails were steel and the mech hanger wasn't replaceable (I was told I could bend it back as often as I needed to and I didn't even have to do so as often). My latest steel hardtail does have a replaceable mech hanger but that's steel too. My fully does have a aluminium mech hanger but I'm not using it. The Shimano Saint mech is mounted to the axle.
  • 3 0
 @vinay: That's unlucky, and everyone hits the deck a few times when they're in the early days of riding, learning how hard to push, but I'm still surprised you got through so many hangars.
I think learning to crash safely is a important early lesson; crashing onto your non-drive side, uphill side of the trail, wash out rather than high-side flip, and the ditch and roll in cases of OTB. Not that you always have a choice on how things go tits-up.
  • 1 0
 @ROOTminus1: This was a good while ago, early 2002 or so. When I started I was told that if I wanted to get good, I'd better learn to ride clipped in so that's what I did. But I never really got comfortable with them got trapped by my pedals for longer than I should in hairy situations. I probably shifted to platforms in 2003 or 2004 and all was good. That said, most crashes were without serious consequences it is just that I often ended up with a bent hanger. And I didn't like them to break anymore so I was quicker to replace them, typically when bent a second time. It was mostly cases of crashing in corners. Sliding out etc. You don't really get to choose which side takes the beating in those cases Wink . Though of course now that I'm riding with disc brakes, I don't like to bend those either so I have no preference crashing left or right. As it is now, my bike is pretty robust and there isn't much to worry about whichever end hits the deck first Smile .
  • 4 0
 For every one of these busted bike stories there’s also a JRA, then OTB after a pedal clip or washout, usually after a tech section of some sort where you’ve let your guard down... DOH!
  • 8 0
 Happened to me last ride. I'm still not sure what happened...JRA and then super man.
  • 3 0
 true that, I've literally went otb on a 2" root after a fairly hard tech section involving like 12" log hops, so bad in fact I had to call someone to pick me up from the park because I couldn't ride home by myself
  • 2 0
 2005 (??)- customer test rides a Spec. Epic with the funky “brain”, (not to be confused with the “brain” in the movie “Waiting”). Comes back and the new bike is all scratched up and he’s all road rashed up real good. “What happened?”. Uh, a curb. “I’ll take the bike”.
That’s commitment.
  • 5 1
 I don't know what the "down dangler" joke reffers to. Care to enlighten me? ????
  • 8 1
  • 31 2
 Just a silly name for the chain wrangler.
  • 2 1
 That's just a fancy word for the riser.
  • 2 0
 Down dangler=gear changer
  • 6 0
 @bnarlz: .....oh......was thinking something completely different at first.....
  • 7 0
 trigger warning - It's a new standard.
  • 9 1
 @dkcove: Me too. If your dangler gets caught in the spokes, you definitely weren't just riding along.
  • 2 0
 Taj was just riding along when his down dangler got caught in his awesome wishbone.
  • 4 0
 That's a long weave to get caught in the down dangler! Mabey that's how the skrillex partially shaved head trend started..
  • 2 0
 Had a customer claim he was JRA when he hit a bump and the bearings flew out of his headset. Had a look and it turns out he had it apart and put it back together in the wrong order
  • 1 0
 One of my favorite riding moments came riding behind a friend when his frame snapped just riding along. It was a Dirt Works Termite and the trail was flat nothing to see and all of the sudden he pulled over and his frame had snapped. I am sure it was a cumulative issue of past drops to flats, but in the moment it was really funny.
  • 1 0
 Fatigue is not to be underestimated. I've snapped a good few handlebars near the clamp just by pulling up. They're subject to a lot of heavy cycles as you're stomping on the pedals and of course it takes a beating when you crash. Same with rear mech linkages. They last me a good couple of years but at some point they just break near a pivot of one of these parallelogram linkages. Of course it starts in a weak spot in the casting somewhere and over time it grows. That's just what aluminium does.
  • 1 0
 I was just riding along once and my pedal shat itself and fell apart in several pieces, littering the road. It was totally not my fault for thinking that 'maintenance' wasn't just tightening things until the it was so tight it pulled the middle of the bearing out. Good job I had only just left the car park.
  • 1 0
 My favorite JRA story: Customer(must have weight 280 lbs +) comes in with the fork completely sheared off the bike. He was riding down hill, got distracted, ran into a parked car, flew through the rear window, and walked out the passenger door.....
  • 1 0
 My best JRA was back in 96, was about 6 miles from home when one of the pressed in pins from the linkage of the 105 rear mech I was running dropped out and the parallelogram exploded, mech into spokes, chain twisted and my DCD (remember those) mangled.... no tools so had to walk the 6 miles home and then got grounded for being late (no mobile phones in 96 kids!!!)
  • 1 0
 JHA- Just Hiking Along.... Rode, hiked, carried my bike to the top of Colorado's highest 14er.....went to ride down and had no front brake at all. Cap had come off the reservoir and drained out all the oil while carrying my bike.
  • 3 0
 What is a weave? Is it an American slang word for hair extensions? (Serious question but answer how you like it’s PB)
  • 2 0
 Yep, you've got it. Basically a hair extension.
  • 4 1
 I’ve never not been riding along before breaking something on my bike
  • 1 0
 You only call it riding along if you break something. Saying you're out for a "ride along" is jinxing it!
  • 3 0
 I like cold beverages.
  • 1 0
 Stick it in the fridge, stick it in the fridge, stick it in the fridge, Stick it in the fridge
  • 1 0
 "How you break your top tube dude"? I was "JRA" ......and then did a 180 back-hop down a 4 stair set. Thanks KONA!!!
  • 1 0
 Lol so true. I went to the bike shop with my frame broke in half, they're like, "YEAH;.......NAH"
  • 1 0
 SERVICE EXCELLENCE ACHIEVED *official award* *official award*
  • 2 0
 Best comment section ever ! Reminds me of old Reader's Digest magazines.
  • 1 0
 Just riding along on my fixie when the back wheel came off. Mechanic tightened one bolt and not the other.
  • 1 0
 A customer claimed JRA on their wheel after I witnessed him pinballing down a blue trail on his hybrid.
  • 1 0
 Laughed so hard I snorted. Once at the wording + illustrations, and a second time in the comments. PURE GOLD
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 This is great!
  • 3 4
 Bold of you to think someone with a weave would have AXS lol
  • 2 0
 Never go full wireless.
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