A bicycle, functioning properly, sounds something like a finely cast fishing rod or a baritone cricket. And at some point, you become so accustomed to the regular zip and hum of your bike, that you don’t actually hear it at all. You should treasure this time for deep in the micro-dermis of every well-running machine are the beginnings of failure.
Generally what brings you back around to hearing your bike is something aberrant in the regularity, a squeak or pop or groan or creak. It becomes, in the silence, a dripping faucet, a non-event, an innocuousness that threatens to crush your brain.
I have dealt with these sounds both with patience and with the frenzy of a werewolf at dusk. I have worked methodically through the multiple causes of a creak in the works, tightening, greasing and adjusting, and I have also broken down almost completely, pulling cranks and bottom brackets, applying grease like a finger-painting toddler and breaking down in tears when the creak creaked on, unimpressed.
I have watched YouTube videos of people doing battle with bike noises, and I have read the unabridged Sheldon Brown. I have chased noises from hub to hub, BB shell to seat post. I have won some and lost more. The best trick I know for eliminating a noise is to isolate it to the offending part, remove that part, leave the bike in pieces for a few weeks and then put it back together. That strategy is usually good for two to three days of annoyance free pedaling, and I don’t recommend it.
This week’s Group Ride asks: What is your worst noise story? Where did it end up? How did you fix it? And how much can you actually tolerate before the tools come out and the gloves go on?