07 February 2013

Mysterious creaks, squeaks and clunks

What is that sound?

A perfectly good ride spoiled. Spoiled by that sound emanating from your bicycle. Certain that everyone within one-hundred feet must be equally annoyed by the noise pollution, you nevertheless ride through the racket. Squeak, tick, click, rattle rattle. My bike is driving me crazy - what is that sound?

We all have stories of the mysterious sound that drove us nearly crazy on a bike ride. Sure it gives us something to think about other than the pain, and sure it can be a nice conversation starter - "Can you tell where that sound is coming from?" But these sounds must be eradicated.

You have three choices to deal with the odd sounds coming from your bike: Find new people to ride with every ride, explaining "that sound just started this morning"; Design an entire playlist around the click tick rhythm; Fix that darn noise.

Please make it stop

Recommended Reading: Discovered this morning while reading my Road Bike Rider newsletter over a morning cup of coffee; from the mechanic's bench of Jim Langley and his blog Bicycle Aficionado, comes this great compilation of possibilities for the reason your bicycle might be clanking.

Read: Keep it Quiet! Finding and silencing clicks, squeaks, clunks, rattles, and other annoying noises.

I look back curiously over the episodes of the loose saddle screw, the loose cogs, the locked up hub, the loose allen wrenches in the seat bag, and the dirty cleat. But at the time they drove me crazy.

*I have no idea how this article organized by rattles, squeaks, clunks, skipping, clicks, ticks, squeals, creaks, and other will translate into other languages (it just adds to the mystery) but hopefully you will resolve your greatest annoyance.

The squeak - a common experience
"Do you hear that noise?" The FDJ team checking their bikes pre Tour of Flanders 2012   
©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Gregory Rast wanting fine adjustments before the 2012 Tour of California ITT   
©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Absolute attention to detail by the Cannondale mechanics at the 2012 USA Pro
 ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
If Tom Bonnen's bike wasn't squeaking before the dusty 2012 Paris- Roubaix, it might have been after.
 ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
The best mechanics build, clean and check these bikes yet they still get "mechanicals"   
©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Tom Boonen's perfectly clean bike before the start of the 2012 Paris Roubaix 
©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Don't we all wish we had a fleet of support team cars (at the 2012 TDF) to follow us just in case we have a squeak©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Or at least our own private Mavic support car, even if we are not in the Tour de France.  
©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
But no, we keep treating our bikes like this and wonder why they click and clank (at the 2012 Ride the Rockies)©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
I can only imagine what this bike sounded like after the recent CX Worlds in Louisville, KY 
Photo by CX Magazine