Bicycle Maintenance Manifesto and Bicycle Pedal Removal and Installation

I’ve been a sort of lazy mechanic since birth. I’ve usually allowed other people to take care of mechanical problems that I found challenging.

This spring, an unnamed local bike shop, (lbs) sort of hosed me. At the time I was pretty upset about it, but in retrospect I think it was ninety percent my responsibility and ten percent the local bike shop.

I brought my Felt F1X in for a creaky noise on the non-drive side of the crank. I told the mechanic, a good kid who has been super helpful in the past, that my cyclocross bike was making some creaking noises. I wasn’t sure if it was the crank, the pedal, or something else. I left it there for the day, and picked it up at five. The kid said he couldn’t replicate it, but that I might think about replacing the cranks. We talked about a Shimano Dura-Ace upgrade, and a few other ideas, and then I biked home. I took the back way up Westnedge Hill and over some grass through Crane Park. In the tough part of the climb I was head over handlebars pumping uphill when the non-drive side of the crank snapped off the bottom bracket. I went down hitting my man business, (yes the pods) on the seat and then went down in the dirt. I walked the bike home sort of fuming along the way.

I was pretty pissed. I had just brought the bike in to the LBS to have this exact problem looked over. The kid probably didn’t ride it, tried to sell me a dura-ace crank set, ($650) and then sent me on me way. I brought it back to them and explained what happened. They replaced the crank at half cost and then sent me on my way again.

I knew what was wrong with the bike, I ride the bike every day, and my inability to articulate the problem and even attempt a repair had led to the problem. Of course when this happened in October that was not how I felt. But hindsight and all that usual stuff…

I was determined after this to become more self-reliant when it came to my bike maintenance. I attended a bike maintenance class at Breakaway Bikes in Portage Michigan. I’ve tried to pick up a few more tools. Unfortunately I keep putting off buying a real bike stand. I think I can’t put that off any longer.

Tonight with only the Park Tools website , one video I found on Expert Village., and a borrowed pedal wrench I managed to swap out two sets of SPD style pedals. Editor’s Note: both of those sites could use some SEO friendly URLs.

Once I figured out how to get the best mechanical advantage I took a nicer set of Shimano SPD clipless pedals off of my Vintage Trek Elance, and put them on my commuter bike, my Bianchi San Jose. I also attached my pannier rack which has been sitting in the trunk of my Volvo all winter.

All in all this left me with a bike I fixed myself, one scraped knuckle, and a generally manly and satisfied feeling.


  1. Not to comment up a storm (if two comments can be considered a storm), but I highly recommend

  2. I had a similar problem with my Marin San Rafael a few years ago, a clanking sound that sounded like someone was hitting the seat tube just above the bottom bracket with a hammer each time the right crank reached the top of its rotation. It manifested itself only during hard pedaling, which made me think some place on the frame was loose or flexing. My LBS guy tightened everything on the frame but the clanking still occured during hard pedalling. Long story short, it was actually coming from the right pedal, not the fancy clip-on pedals, the ones you can use with any normal shoes. Greasing the point where the pedal connects to the crank solved the problem. The sucky thing about noises coming from your bike is that they are so difficult to isolate; what I could swear was coming from the BB was actually from the pedal. Which makes sense actually; sound travels easily through metal, especially through steel. That’s why you can hear a hammer from a mile away if you put your ear to a rail as it’s being struck. Sorry you wasted $650 on a new crankset, and I hope my experience will help you in the future. Cheers!

  3. Hey YouTube has some good videos for repairs/maintenance too.

    I’d suggest picking up a junker bike and rebuilding it from the ground up. You can do spoke adjustments and all that on something that won’t cost you an arm and a leg when you screw it up. Plus it kinda fun.