It’s no secret that I’m not the most bike-fixey of family bikers. On the one hand, I like to demonstrate that one can know next to nothing about bike maintenance yet still successfully bike all over the city with kids. But it’d certainly behoove me to be a bit self-sufficient.
I used to be an accomplished flat-tire changer, back at bike-friendly UCSB. I kept two spoons, borrowed from the dining commons, in my backpack to use as tire levers and quickly changed many a flat. But I haven’t changed one since then. Nowadays I walk my flat bike to the closest bike shop. Or allow a friend to do my dirty work–thanks, Tom!
Part of my problem is that I’m loathe to attempt any full-attention-requiring feats with my two little “helpers” in attendance. But I’m also intimidated by my bike–disc brakes and dynamo hub in the front, disc brakes and wheel-hiding bags in the back are new since college. Not to mention the 76.4 pounds (not counting any rocks in my FreeLoader bags) of bike to manipulate.
But after nearly six years of family biking it’s time to change! I’ve been talking about taking Bike Works’ Bike Repair 101 (formerly ABC: Adult Basics Class) for at least a year, but haven’t been able to find time to commit to a six-week class. Fortunately I went poking around online and found this page about repair class at nearby R+E Cycles. I called to check the date of the next class and learned they’re taught on demand. I think other shops probably do this, too. For instance, I found a very old class calendar on Recycled Cycles’ website, but have since seen repair classes advertised on their sidewalk placard.
So I gathered three friends, which cut the price in half, and we met at R+E one night last week for
Road Side Repair
(max. 4 people per class)
In this 2 – 3 hour class you will learn how to fix the things that stop your ride.
- Check your bike pre-ride
- Fix a flat tire
- Fix a broken chain
- Deal with broken spokes
- Make a minor adjustment to your shifting & brakes
- Pack tools and parts appropriate to your bike, your skill, and your specific ride
Frosene of Bikelava–Artisan Peddled Baklava had the smallest bike–a lovely new-to-her Rodriguez–so John put it up in the stand for the duration of the class and we all worked on it in addition to our own bikes.
Check out the built-in bottle opener! I think all Rodriguez bikes have this.
Taken from my FlightDeck if you couldn’t guess:
We laughed, we learned, my bike was the guinea pig for fixing a broken chain when John noted my dirty chain was not just disgustingly dirty, but also stretched out and due for replacing.
From now on I vow to clean it weekly and lengthen its life. And I’m no longer scared of my tires…though thank goodness my Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires are incredibly flat resistant because it was soooo hard to get the steel bead in and out of the rim.
I recommend the class to everyone not already in possession of these skills. And if you’re in Seattle and available Thursday night, you can do it for free! From the Rodriguez Bicycles Facebook page:
Free Bicycle Repair class Thursday Feb 20th @ 7:00pm! Come down to Peddler Brewing Company on Leary Way just past 15th in Ballard to get greasy with me. I will be going over basic mechanical and maintenance procedures such as : Fixing a Flat, minor adjustments of brakes and derailleurs, how to repair a broken chain, proper cleaning and lubing, etc… If anybody has any specific questions concerning their bike, feel free chew my ear a bit (figuratively, you sickos) and we’ll get it all straightened out. I hope to see y’all there.
And visit R+E this Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. for their annual Bike and Pike Open House.