Headed out for a ride this morning, and ran into trouble almost from the start. I couldn’t shift from the small chain ring to the large one. Doggone my procrastinating!
I was supposed to get the bike in for a tuneup last week, one of the two free ones I get the first year after I bought the bike. I zoned out, though, and forgot the appointment. Now, I have to see if the bike shop will take it this coming week — which could be a problem, since everyone will want to get their bikes tuned before the Outlaw Trail ride (the century I’m shooting for) in two weeks.
I did 26 hilly miles this morning, and did get the thing to shift. In fact, it shifted easier with use. Still needs adjustment, though. And midway through the ride, I had some suspicions as to why the derailleur was acting up.
I checked it when I got home, and found that my suspicions were correct. I hadn’t done any cleaning of my rings or cogs for quite awhile. Can’t remember the last time I cleaned and oiled the chain. No wonder the poor bike is rebelling.
I decided to get thorough, and even took off the rear wheel to get at the cogs with my fancy-shmancy new bike brush. I bought the brush weeks ago, when I was stocking up on nonessentials at the local Performance shop — just tossed it in with all my other purchases on a lark — and then never used it.
This sad state of affairs is a far cry from six months ago, when I diligently cleaned the chain every two weeks, and gave the cogs and rings a bath from time to time.
Now, I know some of you will wonder why I just don’t get out my screwdriver and do the derailleur adjustment myself, too. Well, once bitten, twice shy. I did that very thing with my mountain bike several months ago (Bike Noob — you have a mountain bike? How come we never hear about that?). All I accomplished was to make it worse. Not gonna do that with my road bike.
But even a mechanical doofus can keep the gears clean. Those puppies will shine from here on out.
If you cleaned it and it’s still shifting crankily, I wouldn’t recommend breaking out the screwdriver. You probably only need to adjust the tension with the shifter barrel adjustment, and micro 1/4 turn adjustments at that. That being said, I can NEVER get my rear derailleur adjusted properly! The shop must have a mojo hand or something.