Check your bolts, twice

Trying to keep this blog up to date with my mountain biking activities, leadville 100 training and visits to the bike shop is much harder than I thought it would be. It’s now been over a week since I originally intended to post this bike shop visit update (5/26).

During our family trip to Yosemite  for Memorial day I was able to get out for a solo ride around our lodging just outside the south gate. Toward the end of that ride my brakes started to feel incredibly soft and I noticed a banging sound coming from the tail of the bike.  Each of these issues contributed to my decision to not do the full Big Trees ride I had planned which conveniently was ridable directly from the inn.

Turns out my brake pads were completely worn out and my front brake line needed to be bled. This is a routine maintenance activity so I wasn’t surprised. I don’t trust my data in Strava for how long and the amount of miles the last set lasted. I must have missed a replacement in there somewhere.  Typically this maintenance is required about every 3 months.

Replaced and tightened bolts in question
The bolts in question, post repair. Before the upper bolt connecting the brake to the frame was gone and the bottom one very loose!

It turned out that the banging sound was a result of missing one of the two bolts that holds the rear disc brake to the frame and the other was extremely loose. I had stopped during my ride when I noticed the noise and swear I had checked the brake and rear derailleur for loose screws as this is also not unprecedented for me and don’t recall noticing the looseness then. Sure enough when I described the issue to the mechanic it took him all of about 60 seconds to diagnose the issue. Could have been worse, I suppose but regardless I felt pretty dumb, especially since it was the same mechanic that diagnosed my shifting complaint on a prior visit as a similar issue: loose bolt attaching the rear derailleur. Check ’em twice!