Be Your Own Mechanic – 3 Steps to Take

Promote youself.  You’re the master of your own destiny, be the master of your own bike too!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U01xasUtlvw
See?  This classic Monty Python skit tells it perfectly.  Stop waiting for superman, Bicycle Repair Man is the one that always comes to the rescue!

Becoming your own mechanic is one simple way to save on costs Installing new parts, maintaining your equipment during training, and preparing your ride for races.  

First off, don’t ever start wrenching on your rig until you educate yourself, as you don’t want to screw something up.  Plus, if something goes wrong mid-race, the only person you have to blame is yourself, so take care to know what to do before you try to do it.
Step #1 Consult your free resources.  The internet is a blessing nowadays where you can access the knowledge and know-how of millions of other bikers; a tool that just a feew years ago would not have been helpful.  Many websites offer articles and even how-to videos on servicing and repairing your bike.  Most of the time, these people are professional bikers or mechanics, so they can be trusted in the proper care of your expensive machine.

Bikers are one of the friendliest groups that you will ever meet, and are almost always willing to lend a hand.  Ask any local riding buddies, riding group, or even bike shop, and more likely then not, you will find the answers you need.  Before you begin any repair, use your free resources to your benefit.
Step #2  Arm yourself with the right weapons.  Most adjustments, repairs, and installations can be completed with a few simple tools.  Making an initial investment of such instruments can save you a great deal of time and money.

It may seem like a good idea to wait until you need a tool to buy it, but when it’s on backorder or shipping is taking a week you could be losing valuable riding time.  And there’s nothing worse than missing a perfect day of riding because of a stupid setback such as not having the right wrench, lubricant, etc.  To ward against most unforeseen mechanical surprises, keep handy a broad set of allen wrenches, chain tensioner, pedal wrench, lubricants, cleaning supplies, and tire/wheel tools.

 
Here is a case to prove my point.  I missed at least 3-4 perfect riding days this spring waiting for a pedal wrench to come in the mail.   After that incident i stocked up on some other tools that I might need in the spring.

 

Step #3  Nothing new on raceday.  This should be a general rule, but it especially goes for your own wrenching on your rig.  Nothing would be worse than a switch right before a race of handlebars, pedals, etc. and finding out mid-race that you didn’t torque a nut right or something to that effect.  Likewise, any tuning to cables can turn a race into a nightmare.  

Preparation is key.  Save yourself expensive trips to the bike shop for every-little repair/maintenance by outfitting yourself with necessary tools for the sport.  In the long run, you’ll save money, learn more about the inner-workings of your machine, and gain a knowledge to help yourself and riding buddies in cycling repairs.

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