Sunday, November 15, 2009

What I learned at my bicycle mechanics class

I took a 4-class course on bicycle mechanics which was very well done. The most useful things I learned don't require you to do anything fancy, and can save you lots of money down the line. I'm going to write them down here mainly for my benefit and any other crazy person who actually reads this blog.
  • if you keep the chain cleaned, and replace it regularly (once a year if you ride a lot in bad weather), your cogs and chain rings and derailleurs will last a lot longer.
  • how to clean the chain: apply lubricant, wipe all the muck off. make sure to remove all the lubricant when you are done! Otherwise it attracts the grit that wears down the chain.
  • lubricate and clean the cables where they go into their housing (coverings) to keep the brakes and derailleurs working reasonably well. Then again, wipe off all the excess so as not to attract more grit into these areas you want to keep clean.
  • We learned how to adjust the brakes and derailleurs using these, umm, barrel adjustments? These are on almost all new bikes and are up by your brakes and are easy to adjust.
  • keep your wheel rims clean (warm water and a rag), and that will make your brakes work better
  • don't let your brake pads where too thin, especially if they are part metal, like mine are, because they can destroy your rim if you get down to the metal.


  1. Those barrel adjuster thingies are worth their weight in rhodium!

  2. Hey, that must mean you aren't still riding the bike you had in grad school. Do you have a new bike? Do you like it? And what is rhodium?

  3. Yup! (Well, it was new about five years ago.) Yup! The most expensive precious metal on the market (a member of the platinum group of elements).