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.