#25: To pay or to tinker, that is the question.


I created this meme for one reason and that is because after many times of trying I finally was able to adjust my gears for a better result.  For an IT person, mechanics is not my thing so any achievement is big for me which I will explain.

As a new cyclist that bought a device that is mechanically based, I soon learned that it’s going to need maintenance and maybe adjustment to keep it tuned, and if you’re a person like me who hates even the littlest noise and rides 4-5 times a week, it’s not a maybe, it’s a definite.

As mentioned in an early post How I Buy a Bike, buying from a quality dealer has major advantages and in the early days a key one was they are happy that I would take my new bike back to the shop for some adjustments, in addition to the regular services.

But you can’t always keep taking it to the shop and for whatever reason, you are going to have to get your hands dirty either because you get inquisitive, or maintenance is required when the shop is closed, or you want to reduce costs.

The obvious place to start is the tyres.  Adjusting pressure is easy and changing a tube is fairly easy and will get easier with practice. I got a lot of practice with this before I bought some kevlar tyres.

The next maintenance challenge for me was the chain because it was noisy. I found out I had to clean the chain after every 60kms or so with a rag (or after a rainy ride), and re-oil it with a “dry” lubricant (the “wet” lubricant seemed to get to much sticking to it for me) to keep it happy.

Adjusting brakes starts to get a bit harder and can be worked out. Turn the adjusting screws to adjust them inwards because of rubber wear (sped up by riding in the rain) or to offset cable slack. After that, the next step was to learn how to tighten the brake cables.

But gears, these guys are my nemesis.  As mentioned before, every little sound annoys me and since gears are the items that make the most noise and for me are the things that move the most, they need constant love and attention.


Initially, I would take the bike back to the shop but I knew that I had to take control so I watched a few YouTubes, went down stairs and gave it a real good shot. 90 minutes later, I had sufficiently recovered the bike gearing to some sort of ridable state, just, and rode it to the bike shop to get them working properly again.

By now the guys at Cyclery Northside know I will have a tinker and will often need some help to recover my mess but Pete told me not to give up, and I’m thankful he did.

Yehhh! My next attempt had success. I watched the YouTubes more intently, learned not to touch the limit screws and made finer adjustments.

My attempts will never be as good as Nathan does at Northside but it was better than it was before I started and for that, I am happy and relieved which is why the meme exists.

But, my bike will go back for a service soon as there are some things I haven’t learnt to do yet such as replace cables, grease key components or pull the chain off the bike and clean it properly.

My suggestion to you if you are a mechanically inept novice like me who loves to ride, try it, and then try again….

There are times you will pay for service but sooner or later as you ride more, you are going to have to (and want to) tinker.



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