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The way I work on my bikes has changed. I don’t tune derailleurs much anymore. I don’t patch tubes. I replace fewer cables. A lot of the simple and regular tasks I’d take on, headphones on, for an hour or two in the basement, are gone. This is, in large part, because bicycle components have gotten better, more complicated in some ways, more robust in others.
Unlike many bike people, I don’t miss maintenance nights much. I’ve never been very good at it, so the warm feelings of satisfaction others get from some well-turned wrenches and a precisely dialed bike, weren’t often on the menu for me. I always tried to be conscientious about caring for my bikes, but having brakes that work all the time, no matter what I do, and gears that shift accurately, despite my ineptitude, has been nice.
The only problem I’m having really is that because bike work is less necessary, I find myself forgetting to do the stuff I really should stay on top of. I’ll let my tubeless tires go too long without replenishing sealant. I’ll forget to lube my chains, until they start to chirp, which I find embarrassing, frankly. I also swap tires less often, because it’s more of a pain in the butt.
A lot of this has to do with the type of person I am, which is impatient, easily distracted, and poor at planning things that will take place in an indeterminate future. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you can at least empathize.
Anyway, this week’s TCI Friday wonders what your maintenance experience is like today. Do you work on your bikes less? Are your bikes better or worse for needing fewer adjustments? Is this all just in my head, and actually, I should still be tweaking things at least once a month or so? What’s your schedule, if you have one?