TCI Friday

We are very near the beginning of meteorological spring now. Time to throw the windows open and let the fresh air in. In cycling terms, a spring tune up is in order, even though your local bike shop besought you all winter to get that work done early, when they weren’t already busy. You deleted all those emails. You love those guys, but you tune them out. It’s a shame.

Because if you’re like me, you need a professional tune up once a year. But precisely because you’re like me, you don’t get that done. You’re very clever, and you can do your own maintenance. Sadly, and also because you’re like me, you don’t do that maintenance, because there are more fun things to do with your time, like drinking coffee and staring blankly out windows.

And so spring is springing. Boing. And your bike has seen better days. (So has your fitness, but that’s another TCIF).

Goggles & Dust: Images from Cycling’s Glory Days

You’re in a standoff between the level of maintenance you know you need, and a churlish unwillingness to pay someone to do it. Who’s going to blink first?

Ten years ago, you didn’t have electric shifting and disc brakes and tubeless tires to contend with. The bar has risen. The number of tools has increased. The likelihood for catastrophic failure has presented itself. Remind me to tell you the story of blowing a tire off a rim during a tubeless setup and spraying myself with liquid latex.

Let me be more inclusive with this. You are not all just like me, thankfully. Some of you adhere to a sane maintenance schedule performed by a skilled mechanic. Some of you are fastidious in your planning and work, and as a result have immaculate bikes. Bless you. I feel zero resentment (lie).

This week’s TCIF asks, where are you at with spring maintenance? Is it done yet? Who did it? Did you pay? Or did you do it yourself? Did you struggle? Or have you upgraded your skills to meet today’s technological demands? Finally, which of you has free time to stop by my house and lend a wrench-y hand? I’ll make coffee.

Join the conversation
  1. khal spencer says

    Thanks for reminding me. I had to look up how to adjust the play in a Chorus rear hub.

    1. khal spencer says

      Campy does a few things not only elegantly but practically. I hate cone wrenches because I always end up having to go buy another one since to lock stuff down, I need more than one of a single size. OTOH, loosening and tightening that little 2.5 mm allen bolt on the hub was easy peasy.

  2. Dad Cat says

    I try to do most of it myself. I am very much like you however, and sometimes the service intervals get a little long. let’s not look at the chain on my trainer bike, okay?

  3. khal spencer says

    Emlyn, that top picture is awesome. Do you have the background into on it?

    Back in Hawai’i after I realized I was a failed racer, as Trump might say, I rode motorcycle escort for the peloton on some of the big races. I made a wooden jig to hold two milk bottle crates, one on each side of the motorcycle looking like panniers. Filled them with water bottles for in flight refueling. I would pull forward of the peloton and it would break into two columns, one on either side of the motorcycle. I’d slow down and riders would ride by and grab a new bottle. Then zoom on up to the rest of the auto caravan to refill the motorcycle “panniers”.

    1. khal spencer says

      “background info on it”

    2. Emlyn Lewis says

      Khal, my best info is that the racer is Gino Sciardis and the photo is from the 1949 TdF. I’m not sure who took the photo or who the mechanic is.

    3. khal spencer says
  4. DaveinME says

    I used to do all my own bike maintenance on my fleet, but after a divorce and moving around for a while, I drifted away from doing it for the most part and now let my LBS do everything. I’ve known the crew at my shop for a while and they turn my bikes around wicked fast which I appreciate and I’ll routinely drop off a 6 pack of some great local beer in appreciation. I also haven’t stayed up to date on all the tech innovations for a while and feel more comfortable letting the shop get that sorted. I still do basic maintenance on my bikes and I keep them all sparkling clean which isn’t easy riding in Maine.

  5. TominAlbany says

    My (’98) Serotta got the professional treatment in January. Only a year later than I said I’d do it. Replaced the transmission and cables. So, roadie-me is happy.
    My 2016(?) Blue CX bike got a little lube from me and I’m always fiddling with the crappy old Avid BB5 mechanical disk brakes that suck more than a vacuum hose in space.
    My 2001 Trek Fuel MTB hates my guts. It is 15 years overdue for a transmission replacement. The big ring isn’t available to me and too much torque from my chicken legs when in the wrong gear combo induces skipping. I said years ago that I’d get a new bike before I dropped another dime into this one.
    The kids’ bikes are lubes and pressured up and ready to ride. Still need to do the wife’s bike.

    I have few skills really. I do what I can and hit the LBS for the rest. And, while I don’t really have the time – or maybe I do – If I were to stop by your house, it’d be for coffee and chatter.

    1. khal spencer says

      I enjoy wrenching. Always have liked to fiddle with stuff as much as use it. One thing I have on my bucket list is to build a set of wheels.

  6. scottg says

    Spring maintenance for the modern bikes is done, onto the 1950’s bike next.
    I do my own maintenance, here in cold dark Kentucky, its the thing to do during snow weeks.
    New to me Dave Kirk is built up with my first STI group, GRX front mechs
    are a worthy replacement for a SAT, definite test of reading comprehension skills.
    A new RSX hub and a very shiny Velocity Quill rim, finally give the Ellis Briggs
    a smoothly rolling rear wheel. Cyclists have magpie genes, we like bright shiny things.

  7. Dan Murphy says

    I’m in the same boat as you, Robot. When we got a ton of snow in early Feb, I knew riding was over for awhile and that I should start my overhaul. Well, here we are in the middle of March…

  8. khal spencer says

    First day of spring and its actually nice out where I live!

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