Friday, September 22, 2006

Go ahead, blame the rear derailer

After all that hoopla in my last post about my rear derailer, I came to realize that my original hunch was actually correct. I finally brought my bike into Erik's Bike Shop to get some tire fenders installed today. I mentioned my derailer issue and the tech examined the bike and determined the derailer was in fact out of adjustment.

Shows you what I know. :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Don't Always Blame the Rear Derailer

My first biking post! Biking (bycicling, not the motorized variety) has become my new favorite hobby. Good form of exercise. Lot's of scenery. And, as of yesturday, I can use it to get to work since I now work in downtown St. Paul. I suppose I should go more into that subject in a different post (stay tuned). Like most software developers, staying in shape is always a challenge, so if I can combine commuting with achieving that goal, I'm way ahead.

So, I haven't done a real bike ride (i.e. > 1 mile) in over two weeks due to my hectic schedule as of late. I took my bike out Sunday night to do a quick 5 miler around Garvais Lake. I get about 100 yards and begin to notice that my chain keeps slipping, as if it were hopping between gears. My immediate reaction was that my rear derailer was out of adjustment. So I start fiddling with my rear shifter to try to get it to settle on a gear. Same problem. I then try different gears to see if the issue only occurrs with the higher gears. Same problem.

Something was fishy. I'm finally biking along the lake and would really rather enjoy the scenery instead of fight with my transmission. In a puff of frustration, I hop off my bike, flip it upside down, and pedal it by hand so I could get a close look at the derailer. I notice that it seems to be inline with the sprokets. Looking closer I also notice that the skipping seems to be occuring at a regular pace as I turn the crank, and if I slow down the RPM's, the skipping slows down.

Finally I begin to see the problem. Some (not all) of the links in my chain were stiff. They weren't rusted, per se, just stiff. Stiff enough so they wouldn't quite twist around the small gear of the derailer, causing the chain to actually jump off, just for a split second. Hense the skipping.

I wasn't quite sure how to remedy the problem. So, I decided to just hop on my bike and take it easy for the rest of the ride (i.e. actually enjoy the scenery). As luck would have it, the continual motion of my ride eventually loosened up the chain (perhaps warmed it up?) so within a few minutes, the skipping went away!

I was a happy biker and learned something new that day!