I went on my usual bike ride today and as usual I put my music on shuffle. Just as I get to the part of my ride that enters a wooded area, my phone plays the theme to “Into the Woods.” I smirk to myself because it all felt serendipitous. I continue on my usual route, which leads me past a very historic battlefield. And guess what song comes on. “Battlefield” by Jordin Sparks. I smirk some more. Then, when I make my way back home (I turn around at some point…it varies every day, depending on my mood and the weather), as I’m leaving the wooded area, my phone plays “Out of the Woods” by Taylor Swift. Just kind of funny how some thing just happen.
So I was outside today, basking in the warm spring air when I realized that I haven’t posted in like a week. I’ve been spending a lot of my time outside biking. My siblings surprised me a couple weeks ago by getting me this amazing new road bike which has been so amazing. My old bike was a mountain bike I bought when I was thirteen after saving money up from my paper route. But that bike was so worn out; it would squeak, click, clang, make any sound that a bike shouldn’t make. And I really realized it when I was test riding bikes because the new bikes were just so amazing (by the way, if you want to kill some time, you should totally go to REI and test ride bikes…it’s so much fun, but you may end up leaving with a rather expensive bike).
I got this new bike about two weeks ago, and the ride was as smooth as butter. I was in heaven. The first week in, the pedal breaks. Now, the road bikes tend not to come with pedals. A total scam, but it kind of makes sense…people who tend to ride those intense bikes have their preference in pedals…although why they can’t throw in a choice of pedal for the ridiculous asking price for the bike, I don’t know. Anyway, the lady who helped us at the store told me I could just put on the pedals from my old mountain bike. A solid theory, except the bike is like ten years old with ten year old pedals that are just as worn out as the bike…so naturally, one breaks from age and use. So, I go back to the bike shop to buy pedals. Another week passes, and now my fancy, beautiful road bike has started squawking at me. I’ve treated this bike that it was my baby: I bathed it, I dried it, I kept it in a very safe spot out of harms way. It should not be squawking at me.
So I attended a bike maintenance class a REI, and I learned a lot about taking care of my chain and tires. The guy who taught the class even said “if you’re bike is squawking at you, it means you need to clean and lubricate your chain.” So I buy the special degreaser and lube (notice how they have me going back to buy more stuff), and I clean my chain just like he taught me to. It still squawks. I’m at the point where I seriously don’t think I can have nice things.
On a whim, I googled this problem. I mean, this is a ridiculously expensive bike, it should not be making irritating sounds, especially since it’s brand spanking new. I find a bike forum where another rider is experiencing a similar problem. He explains how his gears seemed to be making a clanking/clicking sound (like mine) and how he was told by the manufacturer to take the bike’s gears a part and degrease and lube them up. So he did all that, like I did, and still the bike would click.
So, I’m scrolling through these posts and I find the solution to my answers (I think). Someone made a very simple post that basically said that squeaks or clicks from bikes have to come from somewhere, and the sound is usually produced when something isn’t tightly secured. In particular, the pedals and the metal arms that the pedals screw into tend to make irritating clicking sounds when not properly tightened. This person was suggesting to go back and tighten up the pedals.
Now, let’s go back and think of what changed between the time when the bike was perfect and riding like butter and then when it started squeaking. Yup, I changed the pedals. So I went to my bike, I unscrewed the pedal and took my time putting it back in. I made sure it was fastened tightly, and I took a little test spin around the block. No squeak, no squawk, no click, no clang. I mean, I have to take it out for a real ride to see if I fixed the problem, but it turns you can have nice things…you just have to slow down and fix the problem one step at a time.