wrench-ed brought to you from the same mind that brings you Sprinting the Bell Lap. you have been warned

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Creaky BB? Check your seatpost dummy

 So I took my CX bike to France. Yes this is a shameless way to post more pictures and brag about my experience. Do you blame me? Anyway, when I get home I grab the Road bike to commute and the BB is making noise, so I pull the crank and clean everything. Did I mention that I just replaced the BB about two months ago?

 Well, I did. The cleaning did nothing to "fix" my noise, and now I have a shifting problem. I didn't get my derailleur cable tight enough and it will not shift into the big ring. And. On top of that I still have a creaky BB!!! The non-drive side BB cup slid out .5-1mm??? What the??? Now my shifting is off because my crank is moving .5mm back and forth. Awesome.

 Somehow when I cleaned my BB I dropped a washer or spacer or who knows. Wavy washer to the rescue. Problem solved. Nope. Still have a creaky BB. How about pulling the seatpost and cleaning that? Really? Yep. Done and dusted or should I say lightly lubed?

 Word to the wise or un-wise. It's not always the BB. We are so quick to blame the poor BB, it does such and awesome job, but always gets blamed for everything. I should know this by know, Right?
 I know this is just my Road bike getting back at me for not taking it to France. Sorry, maybe next time you will get to go to Belgium. Now who's jealous? My MTB's that's who.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

video killed the radio

If video killed the radio star, then the internet killed the porn star. Yeah right. The 'ol internet, the interwebs, the world wide web, google it, Al Gore invented it, and we love it, can't get enough of it. How did you like that sentence? Awesome structure. You can thank my education, nah I really didn't pay attention. Any who, The internet. What does it have to do with bike maintenance? Well you can google anything, so you can fix anything with the internet. Right? Right. It really is that simple. No, but it really is a good place to start if you are looking for a DIY bike fix-er. Working on your own bike is a great way to get to know your bike, and your local bike shop mechanic is a great resource of maintenance knowledge. Just ask. Bring cookies and beer if you want their full attention.

Yes you can buy all kinds of parts on the internet, and at super awesome deals, but should you? When you save a couple of bucks do you know how to properly install said discount part? What if it breaks? Where do you take it to get warranty work, or to send it in? Do you take it to your local shop and have them put the part on your bike that you just purchased elsewhere? Does that make you feel good, saving a buck or two? Did you know most shops will price match the internet, or get as close as possible? They do. Just ask, it's not rude, It's business. Most shops will try to get as close to internet pricing, and also in some cases install the part. Really, not a myth. Try it.

There is a special place in bicycle hell for those of you who come into the shop ask questions, get advice, seek information, and then go to the interweb to purchase the very product that you were inquiring. You know who you are, shame on you. Yes, I do know that shops sometimes don't stock what you are looking for or you need a part faster than they can get it. There are always exceptions, and these exceptions are excusable. BUT, shopping and researching at the local shop, and then buying from the web is a cardinal sin. Just don't do it, please. Imagine if a customer or potential customer of yours did this in your industry. How does it feel?

Use your local shop, don't abuse your local shop. The key word is Local, we live here, we work here, we ride here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Do you shower?

For the Love of All Things Holy and Good. Clean your Frickity-Frackity Chain. You wash yourself don't you? If not please stop reading and go shower you dirty bast.... Take a little pride in your ride and wipe down your chain when it is not shiny. Chains are metallic in nature and should have a nice luster to them. Chains are not happy when black, mucky, and grotty. Lube generously and then wipe it all off for a nice shiny, happy chain. It's not rocket surgery. And as always Tip your Mechanic. It's the Law.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cleanliness is next

Cleanliness is next to Clean-Living and Clean-Mouthed in the Merriam-Webster online Dictionary.  I would have to say out of the three I am probably not as clean-living/mouthed as I am close to cleanliness.  I can't stand for my hands to be wet or dirty.  Don't mind getting grease on them at work, but I have a toothbrush in the shower for under my nails.  True story.  This brings me to dirty bikes.  Dirty bikes are gross.  Clean your dang bike already.  You know who you are, you lazy so-and-so.  Just wipe that down every year or so.  No, really clean your bike.  Your bike takes great care of you, why not return the favor and give it a little love every now-and-then. 

Grab one of the hundreds of shirts you have from all the T-shirt rides you have piled in the back of the closet and cut it up to make some homemade rags.  Step two: get a beverage of choice (man sodas work best).  Take a seat if you don't have a repair stand to put your bike in, a bucket turned upside down works or use an ice chest full of man sodas -you could work up a thirst.  Clean your chain by wiping it down until it is no longer black, this might take some of you a lot of time.  If you wipe your chain down regularly this is not a problem.  Now clean the jockey wheels in your rear derailleur.  They are the little pointy wheels that the chain makes an S around a the back of the bike that kinda hangs down.  Yeah, that thingy.

Clean your crank.  I love saying that, and nipples -I just like saying nipples.  Clean your crank and the two or three chain rings on the crank.  Make sure and get the gunk off the teeth.  An old tooth brush can help get into little cracks and crevices.  Now use your rag to "floss" between all the cogs on the rear cassette.  Make it shiny.  This is also very time consuming if you have never cleaned your cassette before now.  Like I said before if you do this once a week or every two weeks -depending on how much you ride- it is pretty quick and painless.  If you wait to do it after it is too late, it is going to take a lot of your time, like a trip to the DMV. 

Now that the drive train is clean, just wipe down your frame with a clean rag and some sort of clean/shine product.  Pledge works, and leaves a little layer of wax.  Get crazy and wax your frame, car polish, bike polish, spray wax, etc...  Just a little preventative cleaning goes a long way.  Getting up close and personal with your bike you will notice little things, maybe a crack, maybe a cut in a sidewall, or maybe you will see just how awesome your bike truly is.  

If all else fails bring me your bike and I will clean it for you, oh yeah don't forget the ice chest full of sodas, man sodas that is.  

A clean bike is a happy bike.  A happy bike is a fast bike.  A fast bike wins.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Use your words

It's been awhile, but I have not had much to say.  I am still loving my life as a bicycle shop employee.  Can't stress enough about how much I enjoy talking to people about bikes.  I really enjoy trying to find the proper bike for someones "first" bike.  I say "first" because we all had a first bike, but now it is time for the "first" bike of adulthood.  First race bike, touring bike, commuter bike, cruiser bike...

Talk is cheap, and when rubber hits the road it speaks volumes that words cannot come close.  I can talk and talk and talk about the differences of steel, aluminum, and carbon.  Ride them and see for yourself.  Words are great and they are fun to use if you have them stowed away in a bag, but actions are worth more than words.  If a picture is worth a thousand then action is priceless. 

A bike sitting is the same as words, riding a bike is the action.  How does one tell another how it feels to ride a bike?  Oh, you can use words like fun, blast, joy, work out, freedom, pain, suffering, exercise.  You can't put a label on it.  There are really no words that one can use to explain how it feels to ride a bike.  "It's just like riding a bike".  Yeah, but what does that feel like?????  Maybe it is just that I don't have the talent to put feelings into words, to paint you a picture that encompasses what it means and feels to ride a bike.  

It is so many different things, to everyone who rides.  They are so different.  Yet.  They are all the same.  We try to categorize people and bikes, but when broken down to the base, they are all the same.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

But(t) it's killing me

You just bought a shinny new bike and you have been riding up and down the block.  You finally decided to check out a local bike path, possibly ventured into the street or out on some country roads.  If this sounds like you then keep reading.  Yes, I'm talking to you, yeah the one with the new bike.  You are still uncomfortable sitting for long periods of time on this masochistic torture device we call a saddle.  Seat is fine, after all we call it a seat post, not a saddle post?  Trust me your undercarriage just needs more painful miles and it will finally get stronger.  Really.  Think of it this way, if you are not used to standing for long periods of time, your feet hurt, your neck, back, etc... Same as your hind end.  You will build a tolerance.  Get some funny shorts, you can wear cover-ups, but stay away from putting a seam on your parts. 

Those funny shorts have a chamois in them that helps, I said helps -not cures, the interface between bum and saddle.  This chamois is in your crotch area to reduce the amount of friction that happens down below.  If you are a modest person and think you should wear underwear with your cycling shorts, DON'T.  You might as well just wear sandpaper.  Al Fresco, is your friend when it comes to pain free cycling.

PRO tip:  Only wear your shorts as long as you HAVE to.  Try and limit the amount of time that your chamois and your naughty parts have contact.  When you are finished with your ride, get your nasty stinky shorts off as quickly as possible.  This is so important for the health of your posterior. This has more to do with skin care than anything.  Most soreness you get from riding a bike is skin chaffing or irritation, and let's be honest that is some pretty sensitive skin/area.  Take care of it. 

There are some crutches you can buy for your pampered pooper.  I'm talking about Chamois Cream.  There are tons on the market, they are to reduce the friction even further between rider and chamois.  Two schools of thought on cream: 1) it is a crutch and you will get addicted to it [can't ride w/o it]  2)  not sure what the other school is [I'm addicted to the stuff].  Heck it's like chapstick, you have chapped lips use chapstick.  I'm gonna use products that work for me.  You need to find what works for you, and take what people tell you as their opinion.  -It's not gospel. 

I'll talk about saddles (seats) in the future.  Just remember that there is not magic built into saddles, and what works for your friend might kill you.  The human body is incredibly adaptable and will eventually adapt to whatever you put it through.  Saddles are about minimizing, not about curing.  Improvise Adapt Overcome

Thursday, February 2, 2012


One of the most simple forms of motivation is trying to achieve a goal.  Setting a distance goal is usually the first that a cyclist sets.  "I want to ride X miles".  I still remember calling my wife at work to tell her that I just rode 6 miles.  I remember my first 15 mile ride, and the time I almost had my posterior combust on my first 50milier.  It has been a few years since the light started going dim at mile 85 of my first century.  I finished, but probably almost died a few times only to be brought back to life by a higher power.

What does this have to do with working at a shop?  Selling you stuff, that's what.  If you don't have a handy-dandy computer on your bike you are missing out.  I'm talking Speed-o-meter with an odometer.  Simple.  A magnet goes on a spoke, a pick-up on the fork or chain stay, and a small head-unit on the handle bars.  Wired, wireless, or my favorite the GPS.  Heck, there is an App for that now.  Tracking millage is simple, and it can be very rewarding when you have a graphic representation of your goal. 

Up-loading your metrics onto a computer or into the cloud is the new way to track your cycling fitness goals.  This brings us to StravaStrava.com is a social site that allows one to up-load your rides into the cloud, and compare it with your friends and other Strava users.  Strava requires a GPS or strava app on your phone.  After that it is easy.  It is part twitter, FB, and workout log book.  Strava also has the KOM.  King of the Mountain.  KOM's are segments that users can define or that Strava defines.  When your GPS points enter a KOM the system will put your time against every user that has been on that segment.  You can see your performance against everyone who has ridden over the same segment as you.

I don't have the time to explore all of Strava's bells and whistles, but check it out and look up some of the people you know.  They offer a free service and a premium pay service.  I use the free, 'cause I'm cheap.  Right now there is nothing out there other than Strava.  If you are not on Strava get with the program, use your phone or go buy a Garmin.  And for you sick-o's that run, Strava has you covered.

That's it for now.  Get out and ride your bike.  I will be at the shop for any questions you might have, or email me, tweet me, ect....