Everyone listened to squeak – squeak – squeak, from one person in the front row, for the entire two hour endurance ride Amy and I taught on New Year's day. I knew exactly what was causing it and it was everything I could do not to go down and ask this person to leave. It was driving me crazy!
The culprit; worn Look cleats 🙁
After class I explained to him that the trouble was his cleats were worn out. I asked that he replace them before the next class. His response was that he thought it was something with the bike. I told him how I have used Look pedals for years and the squeak they make when worn out was unmistakable.
“I'll spray them with something… so they don't make noise.”
While this sounds like a reasonable solution, I advised him against it telling him it's a real safety issue. You never want to spray a lubricant on Look cleats because:
- They release very unpredictably, often with only a small percentage of the twisting force needed when “dry”
- Hardwood floors and slippery shoes don't mix 🙁
- They need to be replaced, so why delay the inevitable?
While I'm on the subject: when was the last time someone tested and adjusted the release tension on the bikes in your studio? SPD cleats, while not having the wear issues of Look cleats, still need to be checked for the proper release tension. I have found that the easiest way to do this is to take a shoe with new cleats and, holding the shoe with your hand, test that they engage and release with a reasonable amount of effort. Try it on a few and you will quickly learn what feels right.
It just may prevent an injury during one of your big sprint finishes!
One last thing … for years clubs using the Schwinn Triple Link pedals (the Red Pedals with the removable shoe baskets) purposely set the release tension very low. This was so Instructors could remove shoe baskets without hurting themselves but in the process created a potential safety hazard. Now that my Red Pedal Tool for Schwinn Triple Link Pedals is available there is no reason not to set these pedals correctly.