Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shade tree mechanic at your service

When I got my first car I became obsessed with doing my own repairs.  This was likely motivated by the poor condition of the car, the frequent repairs it required and my lack of cash flow.  I changed my oil, patched a muffler (too many times), did something to the exhaust pipe although I can't remember what exactly happened.  It got to the point where I was often found with my legs hanging out from under the car and my Dad had a hat made for me with the title of "Shade Tree Mechanic".  Fast forward to  present day and I pretend to know nothing about my car and can't tell you the last time I changed my own oil, but alas I've gotten into cycling and need to find that old hat.  

There is something about that relationship you have with your bike that requires you to be willing and able to do a fair amount of tinkering with it.  I'll fully admit I've been slow to embrace this (shall we discuss the not all that distant episode with the flat tire?).  But again being motivated by my cash flow issues I find myself with the bike upside down and grease up to my elbows.  Today's adventure was getting comfortable with my rear tire.  I've had a squeaky break problem for several weeks and have been to the bike shop twice now with no improvement.  Before hitting the store a 3rd time I decided to give my wallet a break and e-mail my local bike encyclopedia.  His advice, take off the tire, clean the breaks and the rim.  WTF!  The back tire is intimidating, there is a lot going on back there.  I ignored him, and he brought it up again.  So foolishly I play with it one night after work, beer in hand.  Almost instantly I panic when the chain starts to lift off and put it all back together in a hurry hoping I did no permanent damage.  Again, insert multiple curse words.  

Here we are today, and after watching no less than 4 you tube videos on how to remove my tire I can report, I did it.  Yep, tire came off...breaks and rim wiped clean of all debris...and after what seemed like 30 minutes but was likely only 90 seconds or so it went back on.  I think I sweated more worrying about getting the tire back on than I did during my entire workout today!  I won't know if it helped with the breaks til this weekend when I'm hugging them down a hill.  I even included evidence (don't judge the mess we missed bringing the recycling out last week).  So maybe now I can live up to the oath I made in that I would practice changing a flat tire (both front and rear now).

Swam for a mile and 1 hour of hills on the trainer.