A Year of Yes, Week 22: Beginner Bicycle Maintenance

I have been wanting to take a bike maintenance course for the last couple of years. For one reason or another I had put it off. Searching around online a couple of weeks ago I found this one being offered at our local 99 Bikes shop. After clearing it with my other half and arranging childcare, It didn’t take much time before I had enrolled myself.

99-bikes-stanmore_1

The class was offered in the evening at their bike workshop on the second floor in Stanmore. Our instructor Mick offered a lot of information in a short period of time. It felt a bit too fast with so much to digest but I expect after a long day with my kids, the heat and walking all over town I was not as awake as I would have liked. Note to self not to book anymore evening classes.

IMG_1780We began with learning to do a basic bicycle check that should be done ideally before setting out. Checking things like the bearings, brakes, pedals, chain, quick releases, tire pressure, etc. We then moved on to learning how to change a tire and tube. This is what I wanted to learn most. Changing a flat had always seemed daunting to me and something I feared would happen at the worst possible moment. I didn’t want to be dependent on someone else or afraid of something I didn’t understand.

Mick informed us the tube change should take about 4-5 minutes once we knew how. What a revelation! I expected it to be a total ordeal and of course it would be if I didn’t know how. In the end it was super easy to do and we learned tricks to make the process go smoothly from where to hold the rim and how to move our hands. We were all able to change a tire on our own in no time at all. This was the most fun part of the class because we were up and moving and it was all very hands on. I was more alert than I had been for the lecture prior to it. I can now change a tube but ask me where the bottom bracket is and I’m not so sure. Will have to review my vocabulary and get back to you.

We moved on to cleaning, greasing and maintaining our bikes. Wet lube for winter, dry lube in summer. This is something I haven’t done regularly but after speaking with a mechanic and hearing the horror stories of bicycles not properly maintained it has put me on the path of a weekly ritual. I love my bike. I am so thrilled that I can now care for it and understand how it works with a bit more knowledge. I am grateful for the free course offered on a night I was finally available to attend.

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