A couple weeks ago my friend Kim told our friend Lana and I to sign up for this Bike Maintenance 101 class here in town. We’re all fairly new to riding (I’m the newest) and it wouldn’t hurt to know how to do a couple things on the ol’ bike besides fall off. So for $20, we each signed up for the class. It was over at the Oasis Center here in town which is a non-profit that’s super fabulous. They have a bike shop that provides an after school and summer opportunity for kids to learn how to build and work on bikes. It was an impressive set-up!
First thing’s first though – I have to get my bike TO the class – because it’s a small, hands-on learning opportunity so you BYOB (bring your own bike). When I got the bike back in November, I immediately purchased a rack for my car. Since it turned cold and basically hasn’t quit raining all spring, I haven’t had the need for it yet. So I finally opened the box on Sunday afternoon. I opened the directions and the first page said “for women’s bikes, may need to purchase separate adapter.” Of course you do. Of freakin’ course you do.
I put that out of my mind and proceeded to get the thing on my car. I’m standing in our parking lot, which we happen to share with a bike shop, so I didn’t seem out of place putting this thing on my car. What did seem out of place was that I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. It took a solid half hour or more and I was all but standing on my trunk at some points.
I finally get the thing on there and only smashed my finger in the trunk once. Victory! I retrieved my bike and tried to jam it on there – no dice. The directions do not lie. You need an adapter for a Women’s extra small frame. F.
I went and sat on the porch and surfed the internets for an adapter that would keep my bike from falling off the rack and onto the interstate. I was panicking – because I also REALLY want to haul my bike to the beach soon, and wondered if my adapter would get here on time. Then it hit me – again – I live next to a bike shop! Adapter purchased within two minutes.
It worked like a charm. Although before I took off for class yesterday, I went in and got one of the bike shop employees to come out and look at everything to be sure I’d set it up right. He confirmed that I had.
I successfully drove to class and home and the bike stayed put. I even hit some big bumps to be sure it would stay on. (Better to find out now than on the interstate later). My father would die! (He avoids potholes and speed bumps like the plague. I’m sure his shocks look brand new).
In class we learned how to change a flat (my main mission for going – I’m terrified of getting stranded 10 miles into a greenway), how to clean and tighten your gear and brake cables, how to adjust your shifting thing-a-ma-bobs if your chain is shifting into your spoke or off your gears, etc. Oh! And I learned how to pump up my tires too, and learned that it’s really hard to put 125 PSI into those little flippin’ tires. I mean, I work out, but that was hard pumpin’ y’all.
So, bike maintenance 101 is in the books! Let’s be honest though – if I ever get stranded I’ll probably just cry and then call for help. And if I need a tune up, I’ll either take it to the bike shop I live next to (unless I forget it’s there again), or go to Oasis bike shop’s free bike tune up nights. Yes, for FREE you can go there on Tuesday and Thursday nights (for the time being) and get your bike tuned up. Well, they show you how to do it yourself. But I’d probably just stand there pretending not to know much so they can do it for me.
It wouldn’t really be pretending, I guess.
Plus, Dan (who taught our class) sent this email out today and pretty much won my heart.
It’s a cat – on a BIKE!? Yes.
Stay on the saddle, people.