With only about 42 miles on my new Surly Long Haul Trucker, I looked down and saw that the Cateye Strada computer was showing 0 (that’s zero, nada, zilch) for cadence. That was odd, because it seemed like I was cranking about 80 or 90 RPM.
I pulled over and noticed that the magnet in a nifty plastic housing attached to the crank arm with a Nylon zip tie had slipped down and wasn’t positioned correctly for the sensor to read it. I slid it down about half an inch to where it would register again.
Then it happened again
About a mile up the road, I saw the computer was reading 0 (that’s zero, nada, zilch) again.
I decided that it wasn’t worth looking for it. I searched my tool bag for some Rare Earth Magnets I thought lived there, but discovered that I had taken them out at some point. Rather than muck around, I jumped back on the bike and headed north to Jupiter Island.
I had really wanted to see my cadence, because I’m still learning which gear ratios do what on the new bike.
Time for a fix
I wrote about how I used Goop to attach magnets to the crank arm on my old Trek 1220, so I figured I’d use the same technique this time.
I rooted around in the official Biking Stuff Junk Drawer until I came upon two sets of two Rare Earth magnets from Radio Shack. (My brother has pointed out that I can buy them a lot cheaper through Amazon. Working on the theory that even a blind hog can find a acorn from time to time, I’ll concede that point to him.)
I had just bought a new tube of Marine Goop from George’s Hardware up the street, so I grabbed it on the way out the door, along with a small piece of double-edged foam tape to hold the magnets in place while I determined their best placement.
Those magnets are really strong
The first thing that happened was that the magnets jumped out of my fingers and latched onto my pedal. After digging them out, which was no easy task, I stuck them on the foam tape and tried for the best position. I couldn’t get a reading.
That’s when I noticed that the sensor “sweet spot” was right over the hole where the pedal screwed in. I stacked the four magnets on top of each other and gave the cranks a spin.
Eureka! It worked.
Obviously, I couldn’t apply Goop here or I’d never be able to get the pedal off again, so I’m going to see how they work being held together by pure magnetic attraction. [Speaking of magnetic attraction, I met my wife in February about 43 years ago, so there must be something in those natural forces that hold things together.]
I’m going to take my brother’s advice and order some spares to keep in the tool bag.