There are some things that are guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. In my case it was a series of cult movie classics that I was unfortunate enough to be exposed to when I was still a wee lad back in the seventies. Trilogy of Terror and Don’t be Afraid of the Dark, were 2 made for TV horror flicks featuring mini demon-like creatures. It was an impression that left me scarred for a long, long, loooong time. I struggled to sleep in the dark, insisted on leaving my bedroom door partially open, and slept with the sheets pulled way over my head leaving only a 3 inch gap separating me from the cool breath of life and the diminutive demons of the dark who were scurrying around my bed echoing those chilling little whispers from hell. Not to mention the all out sprint/ long jump combo stride every time I ran up the basement stairs. Running full speed while taking 3 steps at a time, was all I could do to escape the scissor wielding Zulu doll from the underworld that was fast on my heels taking swipes and bites at my barely escaping achilles tendons.
Recently, I was reminded of these horrors. No matter how hard I tried I could not escape the demonic whispers, eerie shrieks and dark little grumblings that haunted me for my entire day’s road ride. Truthfully I can’t really think of many things that could make a ride more miserable barring a full-on face plant or god forbid, any other ill-fated incident. From the time I set off I was cursed with creaks, squeaks and noises coming from what I like to call “the mystery zone.” That’s the bottom bracket. pedals, shoes/cleats, and maybe even saddle. The diminutive demons had donned their own little lycra skin suits and had decided to join me on a time trial straight into Lucifer’s living room.
The noises, as in more than one, started annoying me from the moment I set off and even though I stopped a few times to take a few turns with my mini tool they continued with me till the end of my ride. I even stopped at a local bike shop to see if they could give a little extra torque to my BB. By the time I was home I felt like I had been put through a water drip torture chamber. The ride was completely miserable. No matter how hard you try, it is something you cannot escape. The irony is that as you dig deeper during your efforts, the noises begin to sever your soul from the ride itself and destroys the tranquil 2 wheel escape you so desperately sought out. Leaving you with a hellishly repetitive echo that could only be drowned out by a full-on eardrum shattering, High on Fire multi-set medley.
The Velominati call it the principle of silence. As Rule # 65 defines the need to keep your cycle running silently. It is a crucial rule as it not only defines your passion and illustrates your dedication toward your machine but guarantees that your rides achieve a zen like state. While your body silently suffers your mind seizes control of your pain sensors and channels them into numbness while conducting its own chorus of unencumbered rhythm, power and repetition. This is not even remotely possible when the demon whispers contaminate your mental clarity and focus.
Unfortunately, whether it was a past rainy ride causing some issues or other some other poorly torqued recent adjustments that were made, I was now a rule breaker. It took me many hours of testing, re-cleaning, de-greasing then re-greasing, rebuilding, replacing, re-aligning, re-tightening and finally re-adjusting my seat, cleats, pedals, chain ring bolts, bearings, bolts and saddle to silence the demons.
I don’t really even know If I’ve managed to fully resolve it. It seems that I have silenced the issue but every so often I am convinced I still hear an evil whsper coming from the depths of my bike’s dark carbon fiber backbone. I long for the simple days where my solution to bike noise was nothing more than a few drops of 3 in one oil or a quick spray of WD-40 for my squeeky, dusty and rusty chain. However, next time the noises begin, I plan on drowning them out with a set of loud mini demons of my own.