Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Listen carefully ... kkrkkrkkrkkr ...

Can you hear it? It's spring time!

Ok, maybe you don't know what I mean by this kkrkkrkkrkkr sound, but I'm quite sure it's familiar. It's the cyclist in front of you. The one who thinks that cycling in the winter is not possible and parked his bike for a few months either inside or outside (sometimes you can even make that out by the volume of the kkrkkrkkrkkr).

It's the chain, of course. The chain that is a bit rusty now, but has neither been cleaned nor greased after reviving the bike with love, ehm air.

"Chain" by Huw Pritchard

Please guys and girls, I'm begging you. Look after your chains. I hate that kkrkkrkkrkkr sound. I don't mind if you don't want to cycle in the winter. I'm happy for each and everyone that cycles (ok, in secret I already think about how I can convince you to cycle on in fall, and then winter too).

But: Look after your chain. Clean it and oil it and your life will be much easier (also talking about the power you need for pedaling). And quieter.

And: Look after your chain. Cleaning and oiling is not enough. I had to learn that the hard way when my chain was torn apart while cycling. It happened in fall, hence it wasn't a "start cycling in spring" thing. But it was one year after I had checked my chain the last time. You know, chains stretch continuously. If they are too long, they do a lot of harm to your (relatively expensive) sprockets.

There is a gauging tool to check whether the chain has lengthened too much, but you can easily do it yourself without that. I found this how-to and an even more useful video about chain wear on BicycleTutor.com (highly recommended). Read all about chain maintenance on Sheldon Brown's homepage if you want to become omniscient. And since we are just at it, here's a chain length calculator in case you need to replace your chain. By the way, well-looked-after chains may last for 5000km or even more. And also new chains are a steal (starting at 10€).

If you don't want to do all this yourself, it's worth to pay a mechanic to check your bike. I dislike kkrkkrkkrkkr people, thus better not be among them. Look after your chain and you can be my bike buddy :-).

3 comments:

Erik Sandblom said...

I oiled the chain, pumped the tyres and my bike is now quieter and faster!

Some nice tips my friendly local bike shop taught me: wipe the chain before oiling. After oiling, let the chain go round a few times. Then wipe off excess. Finished! This is easy to do (but dirty) and my chain keeps itself cleaner and quieter now.

anna said...

You're right, cleaning first and removing the spare oil afterwards improves the behavior. I like to use WD-40 for a proper cleaning (also for other parts).

Anonymous said...

Hallo,

this article motivated me to finally check one of the viennies do it yourself workshops out. I went to the bikekitchen last week.(http://www.bikekitchen.net/index.php/English_description) This is something, I've been talking about for at least 2 years and I will certainly go there again. They have a lot of tools, I don't have, and there are people, who seem to know, what they are doing and perhaps more important are willing to share, what they know.
I got my handlebar fixed and feel more safe on the streets now.

Have a nice holiday!

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