Sunday, March 21, 2021

Bike Repair Philosophy

Top of the bike repair toolbox.

Years ago I used to spend hours changing out parts of my bicycles, repairing and adjusting, endlessly fussing around. I had the feeling that no bike was ready for my use and customization would always be required.

As I aged I rode less and whatever strong opinions I had dissolved under the onslaught of time. 

Middle of the bike repair tool box

I used to know how to adjust my derailleurs, tune wheels, remove bottom brackets and headsets. After a while I realized that I wasn’t doing these things enough to remain competent. Several years might go by between these tech sessions.

About 10 years ago I decided to become an ABC bike mechanic – air, brakes, chain only. I can’t say I’ve ever regretted it. The phrase comes to mind, “the cheapest money you can spend.” Instead of putzing around for hours, doing a half-assed job, I can get a professional adjustment/repair and have fun riding the bike instead of watching how-to YouTube videos.

Bottom of the bike repair tool box.

Keeping up with just these three things can keep me out of the bike shop for years. “Air” includes replacing worn tires as well as maintaining proper air pressure for riding; “brakes” mean replacing the pads when worn (the hydraulic fluid adjustment and replacement I have the shop do); “chain” maintenance includes cleaning and lubrication and checking for excessive stretch.

Bikes today are stronger and components last longer than in the past. No need to be a renaissance bike mechanic – just go ride.

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