Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Trashed Bicycle

My son wanted a larger bike.  He's thirteen and nearly my height and shoe size so he's probably right.  Anyway, I found a 26" Schwinn, ATB style bicycle on the curb and the derailleurs seemed to work okay, so I figured I'd try fixing it.  Thus far I've found that it's really not in such bad shape as it appears--it needs a new freewheel and the headset needed servicing.  The bottom bracket and hubs need adjusting and servicing as well, but this is all maintenance--no big deal.  I am surprised at the fact that folks don't maintain their bikes better.  I think its revealing.  It reveals the fact that bicycles are treated as throwaway items in our throwaway culture.  It also reveals the fact that folks are ignorant about bicycles and consequently their full potential as a mode of transportation goes unrealized.  This is not surprising, but I wonder if folks even know the basics of bicycle maintenance.  It's not like bicycles come with a maintenance list and schedule.  Quite frankly, I am not even sure what a good maintenance schedule is.  I'll ask about this on my new go to place: bike forums.

I overhaul the hubs about once a year, which is probably less than often than it should be.  I overhaul my bottom bracket about as often--maybe every nine months.  I've never serviced the headset on my bicycles, though doing this one, I'm thinking I should.  I guess that's all the bearings, and the chain that needs periodic cleaning and lube.  I have yet to mess with my derailleurs and brakes except for occasional adjustment.  Eventually I shall have to change the brake pads, but I imagine that will be obvious.  The thing that eludes me thus far, is truing a wheel and replacing spokes.  Luckily, I've only broken two spokes in the 4+ years I've been commuting.  Bottom line, there's more to bicycle maintenance than fixing a flat and its worth doing.  Ten years of hard riding is easier on a bike than a car!


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