Tuesday, October 17, 2006

PSA: Bike Maintenance Class

After my last post, I realized we needed another Public Service Announcement here. I'm always seeing people who are under tight budgets paying their local bike shop Big Bucks to provide very simple service to their bikes. Or taking their bike back repeatedly to the shop because something wasn't done correctly. Or getting mad and whining at their husband/wife/S.O. because they haven't done the bike maintenance chores, while choosing to stay blissfully ignorant of what their own bike needs. And then having to phone someone in a panic from the road to pick them up with a flat tire.

Why not just learn to fix and maintain it yourself?

The off season is a perfect time to take a Bike Maintenance class! Ideally, you need to find one in your area that's 8 or more hours in length, allowing you enough time to take apart just about every system of your bike (under expert supervision) and put it back together again. I'd like to take a more advanced one now myself, actually.

My report on the 8-hour one I took at R.E.I. right after I bought Buttercup is here (part 1) and here (part 2). Lots of local bike shops or community colleges offer similar classes, though.

It was definitely worth every penny, and has paid for itself many times over now! Plus there's great satisfaction and peace of mind in knowing that you have done the job, and done it right.

And no, most jobs do not require a big investment in expensive tools. Got a $2 set of Allen wrenches? That and maybe $20 total of other tools will do 90% of what your bike needs.

And no, you can't use the excuse that you don't have time, because it's definitely going to take you MORE time to mess around with transporting your bike into the shop and picking it up every time you need some maintenance on it. Or sitting on the side of the road with a flat that you don't know how to fix. Or you end up leaving it sit and rot in the garage because it needs something minor, right?

14 comments:

*jeanne* said...

I remember when you took that bike class. I was very impressed how you went from intimidated by the bike workings to someone able to fix flats & problems in the midst of tri events and STILL get PRs for yourself!

Lynne said...

SOLD.

Cliff said...

Thanks for the reminder....bike maintenance class this season for sure.

triathlonmom said...

Now, I know what to get Mr. Preschool for Xmas! I think it will pay off two times. This is one of those cases in which i'm happy we share a bike, half the maintenance.

nancytoby said...

Uhhhhh, NO, that still doesn't help YOU when you're out on the road and something goes wrong!!

Nice try, though!!

Bolder said...

i'll give you $5 to come and clean my chain...

nancytoby said...

Throw in airfare and you might have a deal!

Holly said...

Good PSI and you are right! Of course I always tend to just flutter my eye lashes and say "Jim, my bike is acting funny, can you look at it ?"

Work great until I moved in with him ...LOL ..Now he says,"Well put it on the stand and see what is up, you know where the tools are...."

:)

Mr Steve said...

Great Idea. One thing I wanted to tell is BE CAREFUL! I twisted my ankle last Saturday taking boxes down to my basement. Boy, did it hurt. And I thought of "What would happen if I had done all this training for my Ironman, and I was done in by twisting my ankle a couple of weeks before the race?" I am just now able to walk normally, as compared to limping along. So, just be careful.

Rootin for ya!

nancytoby said...

Thanks!!! I'll try to keep myself in one piece!!

Ellie said...

What Mr. Steve said.... that's why I dispense with unnecessary workouts during taper -- the more I'm out there, the more chance I have of getting injured and being out. I'll remember not to carry any boxes down any stairs, too.

LBTEPA said...

I'm going to do that before I do any distance tris this summer. Thanks for the heads up :)

TriBoomer said...

Very good point. The $30 class I took on how to maintain the drive chain has paid for itself many times. My local shop wants $30 just to look at a bike.

Even if you don't do the work yourself take a class or two to become a smarter consumer. That too will save you money in the long (maybe short) run.

Stay tuned...

Vickie said...

After going through several annoying bike maintenance problems this summer, all it seems just a day or two before a race, I had already decided to look into this during the winter. I hate to confess that after doing tris for 5+ years, I still cannot change a flat tire. Fortunately I've only been in a situation a couple of times where I needed this info, but still, I can't see not knowing. Just one of my many goals for the next year.