Fun — 31 May 2011
Signs it’s time to visit the bike shop

All month you’ve been hearing an agitating clicking with each pedal and it’s driving you crazy!  Tempted to turn your bike around and coast all the way home, you don’t. You press on.

Clickedy-click….. Clickedy-click….. Clickedy-click…..

The faster you pedal, the faster the clicking.  When you slow down the noise subsides. The sound occurs when in high and low gear.  You rarely hear it in mid gears.

Annoyed, you jostle the gears.  You find that shifting to the middle gears temporarily solves the problem so you leave it there.  Still, each time you access the high and low gears, the noise returns.

Your bike may be trying to tell you something. The problem might be that your bike’s derailleurs are out of adjustment.  Or they may even need to be replaced.

Derailleurs are the shifting mechanisms at the end of your handlebar shifters.  There are usually two derailleurs – a front and rear derailleur.  The right shift lever usually controls the rear derailleur.  The left shift level controls the front derailleur. Both derailleurs are mounted to the frame.

When you change gears the derailleur’s cage shifts the bike chain from one chainring to the next chainring – shifting gears.

If the cage is bent or out of adjustment the chain repeatedly rubs the derailleur cage creating a clicking sound.

This problem can be (alleviated) with a quick visit to your local bike shop.  It’s time for maintenance.  Here are a few other tell-tale signs it’s time to see the bike shop technician:

You see frayed cables. Walk around your bike and check for shredded cables.  Often a brake cable can become frayed from constant use.  This often happens where the connects to the brake’s securing-screw.  If this cable is frazzled it could break at anything during use, creating a loss of brakes.  Frayed brake cables should be replaced immediately. The cost of repair can’t begin to compare to the security in know you can stop at will.

The gears shift rough. Hesitant gears or gears that don’t shift at all can be due to stretched shifting cables, bad cogs, kinks in the chain, or wore shifters.  Lacking full access to your full range gears can make for a tedious ride.  Save yourself the unnecessary headache.

Recessed brake lever. If your brake lever is mushy and pushes too far down when squeezed you likely need new brake pads.  Or the cable anchor may not be tight.  You can tighten the anchor by turning the adjustment barrel counterclockwise. If this doesn’t remedy the loose of tension see your bike technician.

Your wheel bounces with each rotation even though you are on a flat surface. This may indicate a bubble in your inner tube.  A bubble is a result of an irregular inner tube.  No serious consequence can result from leaving riding with a bubble, except an uncomfortable ride.  Your chances of getting a flat increase however.

The bike jerks when applying brake. You may have a dent in your rim and need another.  Bike jerks when the brake pads reach the dented section of the rim.

The bike wheels wobble or steer to the left or right. The rim may be warped and need to be replaced.  Or the spokes may not be uniform and need truing (balancing).

Tires slip. If your tires slip on a semi wet surfaces it’s time for new tires.

For the cycling experience keep your bike well maintained.  Your bicycle technician is your bike’s best friend.  Visit your bike shop often

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