Okay, actually it was a trailside repair, but you get the point. I've rarely had any luck with those "emergency repairs" you read about in various cycling magazines, so you can imagine my amazement when I was able to successfully pull this one off. I've tried tying a tube in a knot to bypass a gash - it doesn't work and makes the tire all lumpy. I've tried stuffing the tire with grass - it doesn't work either (haha funny joke guys, you really got me on that one.) However, this time I was pleasantly surprised when not only did the "helpful tip" actually work, but it also salvaged an entire day's worth of riding.
I had just pulled into the parking lot of the Wolf Mountain Trail at Pedernales Falls State Park, and as I getting my bike gear together I noticed that the front shifter cable seemed to be binding up. I tried shifting to a lower gear but the cable refused to move, so I slipped a plastic tire tool in between the cable and the seat tube, applied a little bit of pressure and snap! The cable broke. I couldn't believe it. I had just driven 45 minutes for nothing. As I stood there feeling like a complete idiot one of those magazine articles came to mind. I manually pulled the derailleur to the middle chain ring position and wrapped what was left of the cable around one of my bottle cage bolts, tightened it down and viola! The bolt held the cable firmly in place, thus keeping the derailleur in the right position, and I was able to spend the afternoon riding instead of driving back to Austin.
A lot of these roadside repairs are pretty hokey, but you'll never know which ones work (and which ones don't) unless you try them. Of course, you really don't want to be in a position where you have to try them in the first place, but it's nice to know there are alternatives - just in case.