Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Where is that squeaking coming from?

For about a week now, my bike has been having this ridiculous squeak.  It happens only while I'm pedaling, and seems to be coming from the rear portion of my bike.  I try to take decent care of my bike, including cleaning my chain and wiping down my bike on a regular basis.  For the more major fixes, I just take it in to the bike shop, rather than trying to do it myself and causing further damage, which I then have to also pay for.  But not this time.
This time, I was determined to rid myself of this annoying noise.  I had cleaned my chain about a week ago, so I was pretty sure it wasn't my chain.  I put my bike up on the work stand and began to spin the pedals, nice and slow so I could use my supersonic hearing to figure out where this darn squeaking is coming from.  Sure enough, I had pinpointed the location.  It was from the rear derailleur pulley wheels.  I tried applying some lube = fail.  So, I figured the only thing I could do was remove the cage around the pulley wheels and give the pulley wheels a super duper cleaning.  If you know me, do you think this ended well?
I removed all the nasty dirt build-up that had accumulated on the pulley wheels, applied the proper lubricants, and re-assembled the pulley system.  It was now time to spin the pedals.  SQUEAK!  DANG IT!  My McGyver-like mechanic work did not pay off.  However, I the positive is that I did do some detailed bike work, and didn't break anything!  Now back to the stupid squeak.  It was now pretty late at night, and I was to be heading out for a very early morning bike ride with the Captain, so I was just going to have to deal with the squeak for another ride.  As a last ditch effort, I figured I'd clean the chain one more time.  I used straight degreaser (no watering down this time...I meant business), and I spun my chain through my handy little chain cleaner about 500 times, well, 50 at least.  I wiped down the extra sludge that was now dripping from the chain, applied some more lube, and let it sit for about 20 minutes.  After watching the Miami Heat choke against the Dallas Mavericks in game 4, I went back out to my bike and wiped off the residual lube.  One.last.pedal.test....No squeak!
I guess I should have just cleaned the chain again in the first place.  That would have saved me a lot of trouble.  And the bike ride the next day?  Well, I must have cleaned that chain pretty well, because the Captain and I were able to power through 40 miles at an average pace of 19.3 mph!
(sorry I don't have any fun and excited pictures or videos...I had to write this post through an email and didn't have time to add the visual stimulation.  Next time I'll try to do better!)

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