dangerous with tools
Join Date: Aug 2004
Bikes: fat, long, single & fast
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Is this for a SS/fixie project? If so, you'll want to talk to a mechanic who has experience with such beasts. Possibly look for info from courier types for leads on a good wrench.
Otherwise, my recommendation would be to acquire an old bike & learn on that. Start with a tuneup; once you get competent with minor chores, start taking pieces off & reinstalling them. My brother, myself & friends learned much about bikes by doing this (often incorrectly) in our youth. By practicing on a junker you can hopefully avoid doing permanent damage to your project bike. You can also customize your 'lessons' as appropriate for your project bike. i.e. if its a fixie/SS, you don't have to mess with derailers.
Lastly, read. I bought 'Anybody's Bike Book' the author of which I cannot recollect (in fact, title may be Everybody's Bike Book). Its well written, though a little dated. Covers basic concepts well, but does not cover latest & greatest gadgets. What i've seen of the PDF available in this forum is good too.