I have Campagnolo Athena rear derailleur on my road bike. Never gave me a hint of trouble. Always kept clean and lubed. Never ridden in the rain or in dirty conditions.

Yesterday I was not able to back pedal enough to get my foot in position on the pedal. Chain wanted to spring backwards. I did not force it. I cleaned and lubed the chain and all moving parts of the derailleur. I removed the rear wheel. The cassette spins freely in "reverse." The chain, while not new, has no stiff links. The teeth on both jockey wheels appear ok. I'm stumped.

  • Hold old is the chain? Could be that it has stretched a bit, which is normal for chains to do, and is just enough to bind when going backwards.
    – Nate W
    Sep 18, 2023 at 18:49
  • Is your shifting normal when riding? I'm wondering about poor indexing which can cause it to try to shift when you backpedal, but fail
    – Chris H
    Sep 18, 2023 at 21:13
  • Can you add a couple of photos of that area of your bike? We might be able to see more. A short video of it going wrong might be useful too.
    – Criggie
    Sep 18, 2023 at 21:30
  • Did you get off the bike, back pedal, and look where it was binding?
    – Dan Gao
    Sep 19, 2023 at 2:09

1 Answer 1


Problem solved, but not for any obvious reason. During the long ride, the tiny magnet that activates my computer fell out of its holder, and I presumed was lost forever on a country road. I had ridden for at least another hour before I had to dismount and it was then that I experienced the back pedaling problem. Long story short, the magnet had migrated (don't ask me how) from its holder on the front wheel to the area between the jockey wheel and the rear chain stay! I discovered all this when I removed the jockey wheel. As small as the magnet is it was well hidden. Many thanks to all who responded. gil

  • Nice sleuthing on a really obscure cause of your problem.
    – Ted Hohl
    Sep 20, 2023 at 14:41

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