A Chilled Bicycle Works Better?

So the Northern Ohio weather has done its Northern Ohio weather thing enough so far this autumn-winter that I have a few data points and can comfortable report that I get much better performance out of my rear derailleur when it’s cold outside. How? What? Why?

What I really need is to go in for a tune up. In the meantime, I’ve been living with some clunky shifting and a few gears that just don’t want to get a good catch. Except when it’s cold. In the below ~40 F regime everything is smooth as glass. Which makes for a super nice ride into campus, but is unfortunately distracting from other pressing issues. Can I make the case that this is sufficiently important to invoke How to Procrastinate and Sill Get Things Done?

I have two thoughts. The less likely of the two is that there is a change in the viscosity of my lubricant (teflon-based). The one I’m more inclined to believe is that there’s thermal contraction that results in a tightening of the chain. Now I could whip up a simulation and dust off my computational physics skills from that class I took years ago. I could also go over and re-purpose the temperature regulated chamber we use to stress test electronics to measure the length of a bike chain at various temperatures.

Alas, I’ll just pitch the question out there to the world and plug myself back in to LaTeX.


About apfergus

A coffee sipping, bike riding, (newly) ballroom dancing, cardigan sweater enthusiast, and astrophysics grad student looking at the highest energy cosmic rays.
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