On Rules #26 and #65: Spring Theory

To hold opposing truths in one’s heart is a beautiful thing; to find resonance within contradiction is a liberating force that opens one’s mind to a wide world of possibilities. Life lived in black and white is a bland, simple world, after all: everything interesting in life happens in the gray space in between.

There is nothing outwardly in conflict between Rules #26 and #65, but within the application of Rule #26 we run the risk of violating Rule #65. Whenever storing one’s bicycle, whether for the evening or for an extended period of time, one is to take care to place the chain in a little-little configuration. This is done by Pro racers out of respect for their mechanic by making their life just a little bit easier when they remove the wheels before getting the bike a clean and sparkling for the next day’s training or racing.

We, the humble plonkers, presumably don’t have a personal or team mechanic who rubs our beloved steed with a diaper post-ride. But there lurks another reason why this practice is an important one to undertake: leaving the chain in the big dog and mid or high cassette as we would when gussying our girl up to be photographed puts the springs in the derailleurs under tension, causing them to wear out more quickly. Placing them little-little leaves them nice and relaxed, all rested up for your next soul crushing session.

I can not overstate that this in no way allows us to photograph or allow someone else to photograph our steed in this relaxed state, much like we would not allow ourselves to be photographed while laying on the couch wearing compression socks and moaning about our guns.

[rule number=26]

[rule number=65]

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80 Replies to “On Rules #26 and #65: Spring Theory”

  1. I have been told the little-little set up does “not much” for extending the life of derailleur springs. Owing to the fact that I didn’t believe them, I was daydreaming and not paying much attention and so know little of the explaination (however incorrect it may be).

  2. Over ten years or so it might make a minute difference, but it’s certainly nothing to concern anyone.

  3. I hope my bikes meet Rule #65. But with such crappy hearing, I fear that there are creaks, rattles, and so forth, all far out of my ability to hear the cacophony.

  4. @Oli

    Over ten years or so it might make a minute difference, but it’s certainly nothing to concern anyone.

    Exactly, precisely why a Velominatus should be doing it.

  5. I always leave mine on the 39, but mid-cassette – as close to chainline as possible.

  6. I belive #65 is near the top as far as rule importance. A perfectly adjusted quiet machine is a thing of beauty, and there is no excuse to the contrary. Too many of the younger riders rely on LBS to adjust and maintain their bikes, and the art of adjustment has fallen to the wayside. As a lifelong rider living in the rural Southern United States, I have never had the luxury of anyone but myself to build and maintain my bikes, and I take great pride in their flawless operation. I am my own Campagnolo pro shop, stocking spares parts, and wear items that many a LBS would envy.

  7. My father passed on these principles to me and now I pass them onto my VMH in training.

  8. @frank

    @Oli

    Over ten years or so it might make a minute difference, but it’s certainly nothing to concern anyone.

    Exactly, precisely why a Velominatus should be doing it.

    You’ve lost me.  We should be doing it because of the minute difference, or simply because it is of no concern?  Just wondering.

  9. @Oli

    I have always done it in hopes of keeping it in adjustment. Wrong or right, I have hoped the cables would not stretch, seat, housing compress, what the fuck ever they do, if they were not under constant tension. Shit, I even do it on my eps equipped bikes. An old habit I suppose.

  10. I like this suggestion as it shows proper devotion to the bike, and must humbly admit to having missed out on this bit of wisdom for lo, these many years. But given this, shouldn’t the 35 year old springs on my nine bike’s derailleur by dead by now?

  11. Huh. Well I must have been hanging around here long enough that I am finally starting to learn something. I came to this very conclusion – little/little overnight – a mere few weeks ago.

    So far being lazy told me to leave it in little – big to make the roll off at the start of the next ride easy, but that not the way of the Velominati is it.

  12. @Ccos

    I have been told the little-little set up does “not much” for extending the life of derailleur springs.

    Even if it is “not much”, it makes it worth doing.

  13. @Days

    @frank

    @Oli

    Over ten years or so it might make a minute difference, but it’s certainly nothing to concern anyone.

    Exactly, precisely why a Velominatus should be doing it.

    You’ve lost me. We should be doing it because of the minute difference, or simply because it is of no concern? Just wondering.

    Because of why we come to this site.  Every second, every minute, every nut, every bolt, every noise counts. Regardless of how pedantic or redundant it is.

     

  14. @Days

    @frank

    @Oli

    Over ten years or so it might make a minute difference, but it’s certainly nothing to concern anyone.

    Exactly, precisely why a Velominatus should be doing it.

    You’ve lost me. We should be doing it because of the minute difference, or simply because it is of no concern? Just wondering.

    Out of respect for the machine that labors for you. You are resting the springs, and the cables aren’t under tension at that. Even if it makes no difference, it is still a kind gesture.

  15. @Philonius

    I like this suggestion as it shows proper devotion to the bike, and must humbly admit to having missed out on this bit of wisdom for lo, these many years. But given this, shouldn’t the 35 year old springs on my nine bike’s derailleur by dead by now?

    They are worn out; the parts are just so well made that it doesn’t really make a difference. If you have them rebuilt with fresh springs, you’ll see the difference.

    @Puffy

    Huh. Well I must have been hanging around here long enough that I am finally starting to learn something. I came to this very conclusion – little/little overnight – a mere few weeks ago.

    So far being lazy told me to leave it in little – big to make the roll off at the start of the next ride easy, but that not the way of the Velominati is it.

    This is the obvious place to leave it. And yes, it is Not The Way.

  16. @Puffy

    @Ccos

    I have been told the little-little set up does “not much” for extending the life of derailleur springs.

    Even if it is “not much”, it makes it worth doing.

    This.

    @Oli

    @frank

    Of course you’re right. And even though I know it makes no difference I still do it every time I put my bike away.

    You’re my boy, Blue!

  17. note for @frank…Rule #65 has a typo, last sentence: “…your breathing begins to adversely effect the enjoyment…” I believe affect is correct. Just sayin’.

    Always leave it in 39/21 (on a 12-25), the gearing I want when I mount after carrying it down from my 2nd floor condo. No muss, no fuss. Hop on, clip in, tricky sidewalks, then gone. Campy derailleurs w/61,000km each and still work like a dream. Some rules deserve to be trumped.

  18. How about this scenario ,park your car on a hill ,throw it in park or 1st gear ,if you like your car you,ll put the parking brake on before releasing the brake ,if you don,t forget the parking brake and just let it kinda bounce into place giving the poor transmission the work of holding the car in place .                It,s perfectly ok to be kind to some of your inanimate objects . I have practiced little little religiously for years now ,it can,t hurt , and is miles better than the heinous mistake of leaving it all alone large large .

  19. If you really want to “rest” the springs, you should remove both derailleurs, disassemble them, and allow the springs to uncoil completely. (Careful they don’t take a eye out.)

    I do this between every ride to optimize springiness.

  20. @frank

    Well then, Tullio sure did his job vvell, because that old beast still shifts right every time. Of course, it helps to have learned how to feather a set of downtime friction shifters properly at a tender age. Now- those old Record brakes, sorry, but they pretty much suck.

  21.  

    @pistard

    And how the fuck do we reconcile this heresy with Rule #90?

    Riding is where the magic happens. All this non-riding folklore is only intended to preserve the bits for when we’re actually on the bike and crushing fools.

    Putting the drivetrain under tension and load is what it’s all about when we’re riding, my child.

  22. While I dearly love celeste and enjoy the yellow/blue/red of Colombia and the memories of Café de Colombia and Lucho Herrera, I’m not sure those color combinations should mix.

  23. @frank

    @pistard

    And how the fuck do we reconcile this heresy with Rule #90?

    Riding is where the magic happens. All this non-riding folklore is only intended to preserve the bits for when we’re actually on the bike and crushing fools.

    Putting the drivetrain under tension and load is what it’s all about when we’re riding, my child.

    Respect I have for mythopoetics, tension, I maintsin, track-slack.

  24. @Oli

    @frank

    Of course you’re right. And even though I know it makes no difference I still do it every time I put my bike away.

    Have you considered the additional wear incurred in shifting from the end-of-ride gear to the small/small combination and back to the start-of-next-ride gear, as against shifting directly from the former to the latter? And balanced this additional wear against reduced spring tension and cable stretch over the expected duration until the next ride? Or not?

    If you haven’t I guess it’s not worth considering…

  25. The last shift of every ride is to the correct gear for starting the next ride.  Too low and the first stroke does not give you enough speed for a smooth and straight clip in.  Too high and the first stroke is awkward.  The bike left in a middle gear also looks better on the stand, with the derailleur partially tensioned and the top/bottom chain lines roughly parallel.

  26. @pistard

    If you really want to “rest” the springs, you should remove both derailleurs, disassemble them, and allow the springs to uncoil completely. (Careful they don’t take a eye out.)

    I do this between every ride to optimize springiness.

    I’d do the same, but my bikes prefer to repose on the airbed covered in think down-filled pillows, in a meticulously maintained 72 degrees at 50% humidity. That way they are well rested before the next ride!

  27. It can not overstate that this in no way allows us to photograph or allow someone else to photograph our steed in this relaxed state, much like we would not allow ourselves to be photographed while laying on the couch wearing compression socks and moaning about our guns.

    Love it!

    -Ted

  28. But little-little looks so ugly as the bike hangs on the wall hooks. So ugly in fact, that I might not be bothered to walk to my bike room just to look at the stable.

  29. @Puffy

    @Ccos

    I have been told the little-little set up does “not much” for extending the life of derailleur springs.

    Even if it is “not much”, it makes it worth doing.

    The Japanese have a word for it I’m sure (doing something right and exact). As I remember it, I’ve had two people instruct me on the matter. The first was along the lines of “this is the right way to do it” and the second was more along the lines of “it doesn’t help much because blah-blah-blah-I like to hear myself talk-blah-blah.”

    I paid attention to the first fella.

  30. I’ve always stored the bike in the small ring, but I thought it was to make your chain last longer.

  31. Really? Really? Where do we keep the kool-aid honey?

    Until someone shows me some f’ing data that putting the rear derailleur into the 12 every day makes one little difference to the bike’s shifting performance, I’m not buying. Or is this done to keep the bike happy? My bike won’t talk to me, is it mad at me because I’m not doing this?

    OK, I’m going to write a post on wiping off one’s tires after riding through debris. Does it help anything? Probably not. Do I keep doing it? Yes. Will I keep doing it even if I know it makes no difference? Yes. Will I instruct everyone else do the same? Hell yes.

  32. @Gianni

    Oh, and I forgot…you damn kids get off my fucking lawn!

    Or as we say in Wisconsin, “get off my fucking snow!”

    Got my first ride of 2016 in yesterday. Low 30 degrees and getting a bit gloomy at the end. You forget how much harder your body has to work in the cold. At the height of the season 40kms is an easy recovery ride.Not so much when the wind chill is in the 20s. The whole experience wasn’t helped by the chain coming off the small chainring on the steep hill 7 kms from home. After consulting Sherlock Holmes, it’s either a worn chainring or chain – or both. Will remedy this weekend even though the forecast is shit and it’ll be trainer time.

    I’m probably in the last gear home, first gear start camp. Mind you, I always open the QR on my brakes after every ride to save those springs.And back off the tension springs on my pedals. And fully deflate the tires in case I stretch the inner tubes. Can’t be too careful you know . . .

  33. To finish off a ride, wouldn’t one shift to the inner chainring anyway? Unless one is to continue their sprint right up the drive way or to their parked car. Without hesitation or forget, I will always put the chain on the 4th sprocket off the front (outside) of the cassette. This accommodates a PRO chain tension holder that is used instead of a chain hanger.

  34. @Oli

    Over ten years or so it might make a minute difference, but it’s certainly nothing to concern anyone.

    Assuming you maintain the one and the same derailleur for ten years, the derailleur is the one component that if it is off, the rider is fucked. Other than the one and the same controls and brakes too.

  35. It’s a  philosophical practice, that illuminates and defines us as Velominati/riders able to maintain a stable. When I was  a courier, we’d not lock our bikes when going into buildings, (but we would be very careful about where we parked them) but we’d leave them in the big/small (highesgear combo you’ve got) so if an opportunistic thief hopped on the bike, they’d be on a massive gear, which would slow them down and possibly make them think twice. Some other tenets of wisdom we lived by:

    WD40.
    Clean the bike by riding it in the rain.

    MTB frames with road bike drivetrain parts.

    Partying A LOT. Sleep when you’re dead.

    Repair broken spokes by winding the broken spoke around the nearest, non broken spoke.

    Yep. Like I said, we’re not fucking savages.

  36. @Gianni

    Really? Really? Where do we keep the kool-aid honey?

    My bike won’t talk to me, is it mad at me because I’m not doing this?

     

    Yes. Yes it is. Bikes get mad like women. You don’t realise it’s mad now, but when you do figure it out, you’re in for some hard times.

    OK, I’m going to write a post on wiping off one’s tires after riding through debris. Does it help anything? Probably not. Do I keep doing it? Yes. Will I keep doing it even if I know it makes no difference? Yes. Will I instruct everyone else do the same? Hell yes.

    That’s the spirit. The less it makes sense, the more I like it.

     

  37. @Gianni

    Oh, and I forgot…you damn kids get off my fucking lawn!

    Or as we say in Wales “you damn kids stop paddling on my fucking lawn!”

     

  38. @Gianni

    Really? Really? Where do we keep the kool-aid honey?

    Until someone shows me some f’ing data that putting the rear derailleur into the 12 every day makes one little difference to the bike’s shifting performance, I’m not buying. Or is this done to keep the bike happy? My bike won’t talk to me, is it mad at me because I’m not doing this?

    OK, I’m going to write a post on wiping off one’s tires after riding through debris. Does it help anything? Probably not. Do I keep doing it? Yes. Will I keep doing it even if I know it makes no difference? Yes. Will I instruct everyone else do the same? Hell yes.

    Yes. To all of that.

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