A few blocks from home at the start of our weekend long ride, Bugman and I pulled over. The tandem was making a funny noise, similar to the whirring sound of a dynamo inside a hand-cranked flashlight.
We couldn’t see anything amiss, particularly, but the sound was a bit worrying. It was the sound of friction, not something you want to do a 30-mile ride with.
Luckily, Sonny’s Bike Shop was open, so we changed course and headed to the shop to get a professional opinion. Matthew came out and spun the cranks and looked and listened. Just then, Bugman had an idea. He took a water bottle and gave the belt drive a good squirt. The sound disappeared!
Voila! It was only the dust blown onto the belt during our last outing in the winds of Wyobraska. (You’d think we would have remembered how sensitive the belt drive is to foreign substances from our experience on Day 1 of Cycle Greater Yellowstone last year.)
In case you’ve never seen one, this is what our bike’s belt drive looks like:
It has no chain and needs no grease, which is why we chose this option. When you ride through a lot of dusty, gritty days, an oiled chain just grabs all that grit and holds onto it, until you degrease and clean the chain or your chain gets worn down as with sandpaper.
The belt drive, while it apparently does complain loudly when it’s dirty, only takes a good hose-down to remove grit. We borrowed the bike shop’s hose, finished rinsing off the bike, and were on our way!
Here’s an angle of the sugar factory we don’t normally see, but did on this day due to our detour to the bike shop:
It was nice to be breathing damp, dustless air for once as we panted up into the Wildcat Hills. Alas, the recent rain meant that the roads were still wet, so we and the bike were soon coated with road grit and worm guts. We’d all need another good hose-off by ride’s end.
We also saw a bunch of construction signage ready to go up along the highway through the hills. I’d seen a press release about an upcoming construction project through there. I think I’ll call the NDOR contact to see exactly how this will impact cyclists in the hills, both in terms of the disruption to traffic and the effects of the construction project on the quality of the shoulder paving. I’ll post what I learn.