It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention. In the bikehacks.com world, perhaps we could say that breakdowns are the father of freakish hacks. Reader Evan suffered a broken cable at a bad time, but came up with a genius field repair, provided by mother nature, to get him home. Take it away Evan . . .
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I was descending a big hill in the first mile of ~10 mile commute home from work (dark, ~30 degrees): try to shift into big chainring & it does not go as planned. Coast to a stop under a streetlight at bottom of hill & determine that front derailleur cable is severed (out of the blue, although I guess I might have seen that it was damaged if I had looked). No way to tension derailleur. Decide that I do not want to ride remaining 9 miles in small chainring (24T). Remembering that derailleur is a parallelogram, grab likely-looking stick, shove it into derailleur, and voila! Back to the middle ring. Ride home smugly. Replace cable.