quick confession

July 20, 2009

I was talking to Rick yesterday about his stomach punch defeat in his attempt on a sub-nine hours Leadville last year (he broke his chain inside 15 miles to go, and finished with 9:20 ish), and I began to feel a bit sheepish.

If I broke my chain 85 miles into the race, and had 3 hours to finish, I would probably DNF. Because I have never successfully repaired a chain in my life.

In fact, I once intentionally broke a chain in my garage, to make sure I could fix a chain, but after about an hour, I lost interest and threw it away.

I have been riding bikes for almost 20 years. I mean, I had a bike as a kid, but I mean riding bikes for real, off road, or up big mountains, that sort of thing.

Anyway. Almost 20 years. And here are some things I have never done:

Never fixed a chain. We’ve been over this.

I have never successfully adjusted the shifting on any bike. I have attempted to adjust the shifting on MANY bikes, but always abjectly failed. Sometimes I even play with the limit screws, just to fully demonstrate my ineptitude.

I have never installed anything on any bike, other than pedals. Oh, and a handlebar. And maybe a saddle. Successfully, that is.

I think that makes me a yuppie twit.

On the other hand, I have NO plans to learn how to do any of these things. There is no ride or race that I’m too proud to bail out on. I carry tools because I ride with people who can fix stuff.

You hear that Brad? I carry the tools, you carry the brain. Same as it ever was.

24 Responses to “quick confession”

  1. Grizzly Adam Says:

    Same. I am horribly inept when it comes to using tools. Even hanging a picture on a wall is an exercise in futility.

  2. mark Says:

    All I lack is a headset press to build bikes up from the frame completely unassisted. I tune my own skis, including base repair, and I’ve even mounted bindings on my own.

    The non-functioning air conditioner, however, has so far eluded me. And it’s like 100 degrees outside and my wife is losing patience. Good thing I work in an air-conditioned office building. I may need a cot, though.

    • dug Says:

      so what’s stopping you from getting a headset press? i could use a qualified full service shop up at suncrest.

      • rookieroadracer Says:

        Headset press = long threaded rod, 2 large fender washers, 2 regular washers, and 2 nuts. Works awesome, costs about $5.

        As an aside, I may have to go back to riding bikes more. This motorcycle racing thing is getting expensive, and oddly enough it’s not any less work than pedaling. Haven’t figured that part out yet…

      • mark Says:

        I’ve only needed one once, and it was easier to go to the shop than to wait for them to order a press in for me to buy or assemble the rod/nut/washer system for the homemade variety. I’ll get one as soon as the pressed-in bottom bracket bearings on my road bike go out.

  3. KanyonKris Says:

    No shame supporting your local bike shop. Obama is happy your stimulating the economy.

    But if your breaks out in the sticks it’s nicer to ride than walk back.

    The key to chain repair is quick links, which I carry for longer rides. I’ve fixed a chain the old fashioned way, but it’s easier and faster to use a quick link. Just use the chain tool to remove the pin to the link you don’t need, install quick link and you’re riding again. I promise it’s easy. I’ll demo it for you any time.

  4. bikemike Says:

    you may ask yourself, my God what am i doing here…same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

  5. Rick S Says:

    After work, I’m heading down to the shop to put on the beefiest single speed specific chain I can find. In fact, I might run a dual chain just for backup.

    I still don’t own a tool chain or carry any spare links. But I am throwing in a few quicklinks.

  6. chtrich Says:

    KK said “Just use the chain tool to remove the pin to the link you don’t need, install quick link and you’re riding again”

    I’m so lost!

    Dug I’m totally with you. I was so excited this weekend when I installed new pedals myself.

    • KanyonKris Says:

      Hehe, yeah I glossed over the details.

      It took me a while to figure out the chain tool the first time I had to use it. You see it done once and you’ll be set.

  7. MOCougFan Says:

    I can only say AMEN.

    Actually I guess I could say more, but all I’m going to say is AMEN.

  8. Aaron Says:

    I actually replaced my own brake pads the other day. It took me the better part of 3 hours before they weren’t rubbing anymore. I bet Racer’s could have done it in 5 minutes. I’ll never learn.

  9. mary Says:

    oh you boys! I have replaced chains, handle bar tape, shifter and brake cables, pedals, stems, bike seats, brake pads, can adjust shifters etc. And, I am totally stoked b/c my LBS is holding a Park Tool School on Tu/Th this week and next. Signed up. Can’t wait to learn about bearings and how to true a wheel.

  10. evilbanks Says:

    I can air up my tire…………….

  11. VA Biker Says:

    Through my years as a cyclist, I’ve always been the geek road cyclist who actually has a chain tool. Well, I’ve been through about 4-5 of them over time.

    The latest one is the absolute best for portability AND getting the job done. That’d be the Park Tool CT-5, if interested. I’ve been using for about 2yrs, after the last Topeak or Rivoli crumpled under pressure…

    • dug Says:

      oh, i carry a tool. i just don’t know how to USE the tool. that’s what i carry mark and brad for.

      • VA Biker Says:

        Just make sure you have a decent tool for the field mechanics to use in the “time of need”. The Park one I mentioned is great. The others ain’t so wonderful.

        I remember the last time I used the Topeak tool. I was so pissed off that it didn’t work when I needed it, I ended trashing a chain. Ugh, that’s going from bad to worse.

  12. RyanT Says:

    I’ve been scarred for life working on your bike. Seriously remember when I stuffed the screwdriver into my finger changing your grips. If you felt the pain I did I’ll bet you would.

    • dug Says:

      ryan, you were a patient, generous soul. in your shoes, i would have sent my sorry ass to another shop.


  13. […] a comment » When it comes to fixing bikes, Dug may not be a handyman.  On the other hand,  I like fixing things and luckily I haven’t had […]


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