Day off Ixtapa – Bicycle Repair on the Gear Shifter problem

Bike repairs and problems are a feature of most long distance bike tours. Cycling in Mexico, my gear shifters stopped working so it was time to get them fixed!

Problems with STI Gear Shifters

(Blog Post Written Jan 20th 2010)

Today was a day off in order to attempt to get the Dawes Sardar to change gear on demand once more. I spent an hour early morning myself on it with no joy, and then rode off to find a bicycle shop.

So much for the day off from cycling ! – I ended up covering over 20 kms !

Ixtapa, Mexico

The town of Ixtapa, as I found out, is purely a tourist resort. In fact it was specially built for that purpose, and as such, has no bicycle shops or indeed other shops of any use. Bugger.

Cycling back to the trailer park, I veered off towards a small settlement that someone had mentioned had a bicycle mechanic. I found the house, (just after the two ‘topes’ or speed bumps), and after shifting some chickens out of the way with my foot, wheeled the bike into the yard.

The husband and wife team did what they could, but after half an hour, it was apparent that the problem lay in the gear shifters and not in the rear derailleur or cable. The gear shifter is robot assembled, and virtually a sealed unit, so not a lot that they or I could do about it.

Dawes Sardar
Dawes Sardar

Integrated Shifters are a problem when bike touring

The problem, is that it shifts down gear fine, but does not shift back up again. The Tiagra gear shifters fitted to the Dawes Sardar work from the drop handlebars. To click the silver brake lever to the left drops it down a gear. To click the small black lever underneath it to the left, is supposed to shift it back up again.

The issue seems to be, that when using the black lever, it pushes the silver one at the same time. This in effect cancels each other out. Logic dictates that tightening the silver brake lever would stop that from happening, however, there is no way to do this.

The only way that I can get it to work, is to hold the brake lever with one hand, whilst clicking the black lever with the other… Not ideal, and a bit of a balancing act whilst riding.

I am about three days from Acapulco, and hope that there is a bike shop there with a suitably skilled and helpful person that can suggest something to solve the problem.


I can cope with the near misses by traffic, a bad financial state, the heat and humidity, the hills and distances, but the bike is something  I simply have to rely on. To lose faith in it, is to lose whatever peace of mind I have. Resolving this  bicycle gear shifting problem is a bit of a priority !

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