EEE-ER- EEE-ER- EEE-ER! “What the?!” EEE-ER- EEE-ER- EEE-ER! It sounded like little people bumping uglies on an old twin bed. It was as high pitched and annoying as Stewie from “Family Guy” getting under Lois’ skin. I was on Cincinnati’s Billy Goat Ride, a Tuesday night tour of our riverfront hill tops. Every hill, every descent, every flat, it squeaked.
According to Two Johns Podcast, 97% of all bike squeaks come from the front wheel skewer or a dry seatpost. I must be a proud member of the 3%, because I was riding my CX bike and I recently overhauled it after Worlds. The cassette and pedals were reinstalled. Skewers and seatpost were re-lubed. The bike was showroom perfect.
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I worked at BioWheels bike shop six bikes ago. I race. I wrench. I’ve built up every bike I own. I’m qualified to know why your chain skips when every rider in town says its operator error. This squeak was confounding. It felt like it was in my head. I stopped twice on the ride re-checking skewers, bottom bracket, pedals, headset, stem, brakes. I even got off the bike and jumped up and down. EEE-ER- EEE-ER- EEE-ER! It still squeaked.
What? It still squeaked?! It’s not my bike. It’s me. I’m squeaking. Boing, boing, boing, I jumped again. EEE-ER- EEE-ER- EEE-ER! It squeaked again. In preparation for Saturday’s Sub9 Deathmarch in Indiana, I was testing a new Hydrapak Avila, a great ultra-light 70oz hydration pack with just enough room for race essentials. I tugged the drinking tube. Silent. Maybe it was the tube, cartridges and mini-pump tucked in the pocket. I swung the pack off and gave it a shake. Nope. Silent. I jumped again. EEE-ER. I’m still squeaking.
With riders departing the top of Kroger hill in Mt. Lookout, I remounted. EEE-ER- EEE-ER- EEE-ER! Something else on my person was squeaking. Maybe it was my cellphone against my Zip-lock wallet. I couldn't take it anymore. I was near home and bailed on the ride at the bottom of the hill.
|Warning: cable-helmet contact may be annoying|
On my front porch with the motion detector light going on and off, to the amusement of my neighbors, I methodologically disrobed while jumping. Hydrapak off. EEE-ER! Pockets emptied. EEE-ER! Shoes off. EEE-ER! Helmet off. Silent. Helmet on. EEE-ER! I took my light off my helmet and put it back on. I jumped. Silence. I tightened the Velcro strap on the light and right there, with my helmet in my hands… EEE-ER. It was the wire from the light, threaded through the rear Styrofoam vent at the base of my head that was squeaking.