Women's Wednesday - Zen and the Art of Hair and Bike Maintenance.


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Photo Credit: Cyclesmith in Utah

Oh crap. Just when I think I know nothing about the mechanics and the maintenance of mountain bikes I realize that I know less than nothing. Can you relate? I mean in a town of people who seem to eat, sleep and ride I can’t keep up. And at some level I don’t want to. And at some level I do. And at a whole another level, I think to myself, “Self, what matters is what you do when the saddle is between your legs and your feet are on the pedals.”

But then before I know it I am wondering if I should take a bike mechanic course or if I should study diagrams of bikes. Geez. But between the dishes and the laundry and trying to stave off aging from years of sun and fun (don’t judge) and don’t even get me started on hair removal, who has the time?

The other day I was reading Bicycle Times. I know it’s not really about mountain bikes but an article about Trek and another one about how to properly lube your chain caught my eye. Wait a minute. Apparently I don’t even know how to lube my chain. I mean is it that hard? Really? So I read the article and here’s the take away:
After you apply lube (in the correct way) you need to let it be for 15 minutes. You can read the directions on your lube but…longer is better than shorter.

O.K. so now you know the ancient lube secret. And guess what else I didn’t know? Sram is pronounced SRAM not Shram. Now, I’m betting I’m the only one who inserted an “h” sound. But just in case I’m wrong you heard it here first. Wink wink. I read a lot of bike magazines. I learned recently that we can just pocket the valve cover when changing a flat. The valve covers are pretty much for the protection of the valve when they are still in the box (thanks Mountain Bike Action). Who knew? Not me.

Why am I so willing to share what I don’t know? Why humiliate myself in a community of people that knows how the proverbial wheels on the bus go round and round? I’ll tell you why. I don’t think that I’m the only one. And I remind myself of that all the time. I do know a bit and in some situations I know more than those around me. And in many others, I am a total novice. I share this because I don’t want you to get caught up in what you don’t know. I don’t want you to feel intimidated. I don’t want anything to get in between you and riding your bike and seeing what you are made of. And I want you to know a few things when you take your bike in to get maintained.

I know there’s lots of snow on the ground. And maybe you’re busy with spin classes or hair removal (winter is really the best time for that sort of thing) or maybe you’re trying your hand at jump roping (like me). But in the meantime here is a diagram of a bike. Just in case you want to learn more so you’ll feel more confident at the bike shop. And just as an FYI, in the coming weeks I’ll offer some tips on how you might improve your bike skills at some super cool camps.

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