Trish and Dottie at the fun blog Let’s Go Ride a Bike are doing a very magical thing. They already inspire regular folks to get on a bike and ride, just for the fun of it, but they’ve taken it a step further by creating the LGRAB Summer Games. They’re hoping that by offering prizes for doing some cycling-related activities, we’ll all be better bikers. Some of the requirements are fun, and others are experience-building.
Take this session, for instance. Dottie and Trish suggested performing a bike maintenance task, large or small. My biking buddy and I knew just what to do. We’re both married to finesse guys who love to take care of the nitty-gritty details for us. When I’ve had a flat, my husband has fixed with a smile. It’s so wonderful to feel pampered, but that’s not gonna make life easier when I’m 5 miles from home with glass in my tire.
My biking buddy’s husband, a huge bike enthusiast and cyclocross monster, agreed to show us both how to change a tire and how to oil the chain on our own. I’m still not sure how we conned him into instructing two sarcastic women.
No step-by-step photos to see here. I’m simply not qualified to give instructions, and I don’t want the headache of more knowledgeable people telling me exactly how I did it wrong. But rest assured, it is possible for even mechanical klutzes like me to get the job done.
A few notes, however:
* The hardest part is getting the tire off and back on the rim, since you’re stretching the not-very-flexible rubber with your hands. Tire levers are your friends.
* He suggests starting near the valve when removing the tire.
* Having strong hands really helps. Guess I’ll work on that.
* I really need to get a repair kit in a little bag for emergencies.
By comparison, lubing the chain was a snap. After deciding against the spray version (too much oil in the air), it was just a matter of dripping a bit of oil on each link as I slowly turned the pedal backward. He said the ideal time to lube was after a ride, even though you’re thinking more about a shower than bike care. That timing allows the oil to get into the chain’s nooks and crannies while the bike is waiting for its next ride. Oil applied pre-ride has more of a chance to pick up road grime, which only increases chain gunk.
I rarely watch TV, but I’m tempted to pick a program and sit with a wheel to practice getting the tire changed, just so it doesn’t take me 20 minutes on a blazing hot or bone-chilling cold day when I’m stranded by the side of the road. We’ll see.
Thanks for taking the time to increase my bike maintenance know-how!