The fresh piney smell of speed
Yesterday my chain jumped off smack dab in the middle of fifth. Fortunately was able to get to the side quickly and was even just a couple blocks from work, so no harm really.
Was able to get the chain back on easily enough but wasn’t eager for my next surprise so characteristically gravitated toward the simplest, cheapest explanation, that my chain was a mess.
I stopped at thick and picked up a chain cleaning tool (the kind where you run the chain through its internal brushes, and that has a reservoir for your de-greaser) and some lube.
My wife was down at the waterfront and got some zop for me, but the sprayer head didn’t seem like it was designed to screw off, so googled for a sec and decided to go ahead with the pine sol.
And, judging by this morning cleaning the chain (and taking a really crazy amount of goop off the tensioner) was just what the doctor ordered. In addition to the chain not jumping off and to try and get me killed, the he peddling was dead quiet, noticeably lower effort, and as confirmed by Endomodo, about 1 mph faster in spite of that lower effort. It was fantastic. I can’t wait to hope back on the bike now, smell the smell of speed and maybe crank it a bit more.
So, two questions:
Is there a degreaser or other product that has helped your bike whose smell you now love?
Is there any other easy bit of bike maintenance that I am neglecting (I do nothing but keep the tire pressure ok) has the potential to make a nice difference in my ride?
This isn’t completely responsive to the question, but I would suggest removing the seatpost from time to time (more than once a year) and putting some grease, carbon friction paste, WD40, etc. in there (really, anything oil-based is better than nothing) to prevent the seatpost from seizing into the frame. That’s a simple problem to avoid, but I’ve seen it far too often.
This seems so simple, but check your saddle height occasionally. I recently did my first 200k ride, and I learned the hard way that my saddle was pretty far from where I need it to be to ride efficiently and comfortably.
If your saddle is too low, you don’t get full leg extension and hence, you miss out on that extra bit of power. What worked for me was having a more bike-experienced friend observe my pedal motion from a distance. Alternatively, you could lean against a wall and pedal backwards while watching yourself in a mirror (or monitor via camera).
As Jacob mentioned, you can end up with your seat post seized inside the tube, but you could also have your seat post slip inside the tube if not properly tightened. Find the right saddle height and then mark it on the seat post, write it down somewhere, and check it from time to time.
I’d be real happy if I knew what froze up my brake and shift cables with such regularity. Or how to get and keep them lubed.
Consider having your cables/cable housing lubricated and/or replaced, especially if your shifters are not super responsive.
Get some Simple Green (Target/Giant Eagle/etc. has it premixed, or get the concentrated formula on Amazon and dilute as necessary), and an ultrasonic cleaner. Be sure to buy some chain lube though, the degreaser will strip everything off your chain.
I got a nice bottle of Simple Green at Home Depot. Looking at the chain cleaner tool stripping off all the crap is pretty hypnotizing.
“Consider having your cables/cable housing lubricated and/or replaced, especially if your shifters are not super responsive.”
I do have the problem sometimes. Also cable tension. I don’t know how to adjust that, or lubricate cables or cable housing. I do have barrel shifters so that should be simple though, right? This is all just probably a few youtube videos away, but if there’s some broader wisdom I’m curious to hear it.
Last item. To celebrate I took the bike up to Riverview for lunch. Was happy because although the bridge was out, climbing up Perrysville/Federal Street extension wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected. But I noticed peddling around in the park that it got sluggish all of a sudden again. I’m guessing I jostled something on the bumpy trail to or back from the observatory but it wasn’t the brakes, which were my first theory. Other theories?
Misc comments on the ride… lot of fun, there was a sign saying bridge out around Mairdale, so I guess the route by the old penitentiary is a no go now? Those who have ridden down the federal street extension… how can you SEE at the kinds of speed this road wants to take you?
“I don’t know how to adjust that, or lubricate cables or cable housing.”
Over in motorcycle world a company called Motion Pro makes a cable lubing tool. It is basically a device which attaches to an aerosol can and directs liquid into the cable. It has been around forever, supposedly works well and costs less than $10.00.
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