It only takes single mechanical maladjustment to create a noticeable bicycle problem, creating a distraction for the rider. An extra clicking noise is indicative of excessive wear and tear on a particular component. Bicycle riders hearing any suspect noise can use that sound as a clue to help identify adjustments needed to optimize bike performance.
Once out on the road, a rider is likely to continue riding rather than stop for a minor adjustment. However, your ride is more satisfying when you are able to concentrate totally on riding technique, with no undue concern for the operating condition of the bike. Most repairs can be performed before your next ride, and proper preparation can minimize the following mechanical problems developing during a ride.
Both the front and rear derailleurs must be able to position the chain in direct alignment with each gear cog. When riding, you are continuously shifting up and down in response to changes in the slope of the road. Each derailleur has two screws to adjust its range of movement. A correct alignment will result in minimal noise as the chain moves efficiently from cog to cog.
Brake pads are prone to develop squeaks over time. The small pads become excessively worn due to the heavy clamping force applied to the wheel during each stop. Uneven pad wear can develop if the leading edge of the pad is encountering the wheel before the rest of the pad grips the wheel. Most braking is routine and gradual, but the ability to stop suddenly is essential for personal safety.
Inadequate Tire Inflation
Even the best tire tube can lose pressure over several days. Recommended air pressure is printed on the side of each bike tire. A bicycle gauge is necessary to accurately measure the relatively high pressures of narrow tires. A gauge also prevents excessive inflation, which can cause a tire to blow out. A tire gauge is a highly practical piece of cycling gear.
Sudden Riding Problems
If you are out on a ride and have a flat tire due to a punctured tube, you may be able to fix the problem yourself. Items to carry along for a potential tire repair include:
- Spare tube
- Tube patch kit
- Portable tire pump and gauge
Many cyclists rely on repair shops to perform all adjustments except for periodic tire inflation. Once you know your bike is in top condition, you are able to focus solely on the enjoyment of the ride.