20 April 2009

Bike repair for the uninitiated

I want to ride my bike more this summer, but it's old and probably needs fixing. What do I do?
Take it to a bike shop for a tune-up. Explain if you have to that you aren't looking to work out or start commuting, but for now you just need something functional enough to get you around on the trails in your community.

But it's a cheap-ass Huffy. Won't they make fun of me?
If they do, then find another shop.

There is no other bike shop around here.
Then I guess you're out of luck. Don't you have any friends who are bike buffs?

No; that biking-all-the-time stuff is for dorks.
Thanks. Now stay the hell off my bike trail, loser.

No, wait! That came out wrong. I'm sorry. I need your help.
Okay, I'm trying to give it to you.

Is there anyway I can avoid going to the bike shop? In These Tough Economic Times and all.
You know, you could probably save a lot of money by biking instead of driving for some things.

Yes yes, I know, but I'm not there yet. For now I just want to fix up my cheap-ass Huffy so I can ride around on the trails where I live.
Okay, first inflate the tires.

I don't have a bike pump.
Go to the bike shop and get a pump.

Aw man!

Okay, now what?
Make sure you get one with a pressure gauge.

Wait, so I have to return the one I just bought and get the one with the dial thingy on it, even though it's more expensive?

Alright, alright, sheesh. I just can't believe how much this bike stuff is costing me.
For cryin' out loud, you bought a freaking pump! That's like the cheapest, most basic accessory there is!

Yeah, but In These Tough Economic Times...
Hey, do you want to ride your bike or not?

Yes, I do!
Okay, now inflate both tires.

How much?
There should be a number on them somewhere telling you the maximum pressure. Pump air into them until the gauge is at that number, and then stop.

Why not a little extra? You know, just in case?
Because your inner tubes will explode.

Whoa, seriously?
Well, it happened to me once.

So now what?
Find someplace where you can pedal around slowly without dying. You need to make sure the brakes work.

They don't. How do I fix them?
Take your bike to a shop or find a bike dork.

You're kidding!
Seriously, you really shouldn't be fiddling around with your own brakes.

Okay, well, they sort of work. I mean, it's hard to stop when I go fast, but I'm not going to be going fast, right?
Well, just be aware that they're going to need to be fixed at some point by someone who already knows how to do it.

What's next?
Try shifting.

I'm kind of stuck.
Are you kind of stuck in a gear where you can pedal easily and stop safely?

Yeah, I guess.
Then you're good to go.

Wait, so that's it?
Yeah, pretty much.

But my bike is still broken!
*sigh* Then take it to a bike shop and get a tune-up. I told you that already.

But it's a cheap-ass Huffy. It's probably not worth what I'd pay for a full tune-up.
Then maybe it's time for a new bike. Something better than a cheap-ass Huffy, perhaps.

But that's expensive!
Well, that's life. How much was your car?

That's different.
Then why don't you just go on a nice drive instead of riding your bike? Cheapass.

Hey, I was told biking was cheap.
It is cheap, but "cheap" doesn't mean "free." Would you, I dunno, decide you want to take up knitting so you could make your own scarf, but then stamp your foot and refuse to buy yarn?

Okay, I see your point.
See you on the bike trail, then.


At 20 April, 2009 15:11, Blogger reub2000 said...

Or you could just take that squeaky mountain bike on the trail. The idea that a problem needs to be fixed so that the bike rides smoothly, and so it doesn't become and even bigger problem eludes many riders.

At 22 April, 2009 14:10, Blogger Dingbat said...

Love it. I'd only add Bikesnob's advice on chain lubrication:

"If your chain is rusty or squeaky, just put something unctuous on it. That's it. If you're the kind of cyclist who rides around with a squeaky drivetrain, chances are you also ride a pretty crappy bike, so don't worry about fancy boutique lubes. Seriously, just use anything. 3-In-One oil, motor oil, grease, K-Y Jelly, chicken fat--whatever you've got in your tool box, refrigerator, or bedside drawer is fine. Even your own mucus can work in a pinch. (Though you might want to use rubber gloves.)"


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