Have you ever arrived at the start of the ride to discover than you are missing something? The drinks bottles are lost, the shoes in the other vehicle, the glove which disappeared, helmet left on the kitchen counter. It happens to all of us although probably not many left home, as I did once, without the bike; happily I did notice something was missing after driving a short distance towards the start. All these mishaps could have halted your participation in the club ride. But more inconvenient and potentially much more dangerous is what you have not noticed is missing or is not properly fixed.
This is a cautionary tale about what fell off my the bike and by good fortune did not cause a catastrophic accident.
A favorite ride of the Clippers is Little Gopher Canyon via N. Twin Oaks Valley Road. Much of the rural part of Twin Oaks is very poorly surfaced, especially on the steep rise just before the drop down to Gopher Cyn. A strange metallic clanking noise was emanating from my bike. I stopped to check the disc brakes, the chain, that the pump was in position and not obstructing the crank. I shook and spun the wheels. Everything appeared perfect. I continued up the hill; the noise came back. Another stop at the top. Perhaps something jumping about in the saddlebag due to the rough terrain? Nothing found. But from the re-start the noise totally stopped and we charged down the descent to Gopher Cyn at up to 40 mph, happy that the problem had resolved itself. A good sign? Read further –not always.
I completed the forty mile ride. Checked out the bike again at home: no problem found. In the next ten days did four more rides, about 150 miles. Until one Saturday while loading the bike on the back of my car at the end of a ride another club member indicated that there might be a problem with the rear wheel.
A quick look gave me a shock. The retaining nut and washer were missing from the left side of the axel, leaving the wheel attached only on one side. That metallic noise was the washer and nut working loose and the silence was a sign that they had dropped off on route.
Luckily the bike shop had the necessary item. Your bike probably has a quick release lever, which you cannot lose though it could be loose. A lesson learned. Check everything twice and if an annoying sound disappears without obvious cause be afraid…..very afraid.