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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 11-20-11, 08:20 AM   #1
rydabent
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Why

Why do so many people go out and ride without tools patches tubes and a pump? I carry all those and more in the trunk pack on my bent. In the last 3 years I dont know how may times I have stopped and assisted a stranded cyclist with a totally bare bike. I guess they dont think bad things happen to good people.
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Old 11-20-11, 08:42 AM   #2
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Possibly they think flats won't happen on their bike because they don't happen on their car often enough to worry about. Or, more likely, they have no clue what to do if it does happen and what tools/supplies they will need. The cell phone has replaced needing to fix it yourself.
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Old 11-20-11, 08:55 AM   #3
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Basic skills in bike repair/maintenance are sorely lacking. They've never learned to replace an inner tube, never really wanted to learn for the most part, and especially in this age of cell phones, they see making a phone call to arrange a pick up as the preferable way to deal with a flat tire. Work in a bike shop for a while, and you'll be amazed at the lengths folks will go to in order to avoid fixing a flat themselves.

Personally, I've seen the ability to do on-the-road repairs as a part of riding a bicycle since I was a kid. Crap happens, you gotta be prepared. Currently, I carry one or two extra tubes, tire lever(s), inflation device (pump or Co2 depending on the bike), small patch kit, basic multi-tool w/chain tool, and a chain connector link on all of my bikes on all of my rides.
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Old 11-20-11, 09:07 AM   #4
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well biked

I carry all that plus boots for a tire, a leatherman tool, a 6 in cresent wrench, a bottle of alcohol and rags. Over kill------maybe, but assisting people I have used them all.
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Old 11-20-11, 09:12 AM   #5
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well biked

I carry all that plus boots for a tire, a leatherman tool, and a 6 in cresent wrench. Over kill------maybe, but assisting people I have used them all.
I forgot to mention in my post above that I carry two or three small tire boots as well as the other items. You got me beat in carrying the Leatherman tool and the crescent wrench, though. Actually, I do carry something similar to the Leatherman on one of my touring bikes, now that I think of it.
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Old 11-20-11, 09:28 AM   #6
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Keep in mind that we (i.e. members of this forum) are by far atypical of most bike riders. We know about and care about bike maintenance and repairs. Most casual riders have the same level of mechanical knowledge about their bikes as they do about their cars; NONE. This as particularly true of the folks you see tooling aroung their neighborhoods on a summer evenings or on the local MUT on weekends.

I also carry two tubes, tire levers, a small multitool, a small chain tool, a chain master link, patch kit, CO2 inflator, a minipump, tire boot material and a small pocket knife. I've used them all at one time or another for myself or to assist others. As I mentioned, this level of preparation is not typical.

BTW, I do carry a cell phone and have used it once in 26 years of riding. I ran over a ring-shank roofing nail that punctured the rear tire, both sides of the tube and penetrated the rim far enough to stick out between two spokes. It was stuck so firmly I couldn't pull it out and I called my wife to come get me.

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Old 11-20-11, 09:29 AM   #7
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Because most of those people barely know how to put air in the tires, much less remove a wheel from the bike!
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Old 11-20-11, 09:35 AM   #8
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Perhaps the tool-less are just optimists, but it puzzles me too. I've helped many riders (on road and dirt) way more than I've helped myself. Lately, I've been loaning my mini-pump to riders who've shot thru their CO2 cartridges (mainly because of poor tire installation techniques - pinched tubes, improperly seated). But concur some are not mechanically inclined. I'm not saying cyclist must be mechanically inclined, but a couple common road side repairs, mainly swapping out a tube is necessary. I can use a can-opener, but I can't cook a Thanksgiving dinner.
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Old 11-20-11, 09:38 AM   #9
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Keep in mind that we (i.e. members of this forum) are by far atypical of most bike riders.
Good point. After all, this is the Bicycle Mechanics chapter of the BF. It's be like the band kids in high school wondering why everyone else doesn't play an instrument.
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Old 11-20-11, 10:53 AM   #10
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Somewhere there's a sweet spot between foolishly carefree and obsessively uptight. Everybody draws that line differently.
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Old 11-20-11, 10:53 AM   #11
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The OP hasn't been to Bike Party in San Jose, where where tubeless, tooless, and patchkitless riders are a plaque.

=8-)
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Old 11-20-11, 11:09 AM   #12
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Most casual riders have the same level of mechanical knowledge about their bikes as they do about their cars; NONE.
+1

If you think changing is an easy task you'd be amazed at the amount of riders that have no idea how to use a quick release skewer.

The last time I got a flat I had to walk it home, fortunately I was only a couple miles out. Since then I try to keep a pump/tube/tire levers on my bike but I have so many bikes and so few supplies that I often ride "bare."
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Old 11-20-11, 11:22 AM   #13
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The last time I got a flat I had to walk it home, fortunately I was only a couple miles out. Since then I try to keep a pump/tube/tire levers on my bike but I have so many bikes and so few supplies that I often ride "bare."
Get a small underseat pack to hold the essentials and switch it from bike-to-bike. Many have velcro or other quick release attacments and can be switched in a few seconds. Make it a point to have the pack on the bike you are going to ride just as you would your water bottle.
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Old 11-20-11, 11:39 AM   #14
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rydabent, IME it's mostly the rookie cyclists that aren't prepared. I started bringing the floor pump and a small tool kit for club rides as it seemed common that someone had underinflated tires or something mechanical amiss. There seemed a couple of folks that didn't 'get it' until their own problem.

I know riders that just stay in their neighborhood, I don't think they need repair items. The walk home may teach them to be prepared before the ride?

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Old 11-20-11, 11:54 AM   #15
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Why do so many people go out and ride without tools patches tubes and a pump? I carry all those and more in the trunk pack on my bent. In the last 3 years I dont know how may times I have stopped and assisted a stranded cyclist with a totally bare bike. I guess they dont think bad things happen to good people.
Same reason some don't ride with a helmet?

(^^^ Oh, no he d'n't just say that...!)
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Old 11-20-11, 01:24 PM   #16
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"Why do so many people go out and ride without tools patches tubes and a pump?"

Maybe they are counting on folks like us, who ride prepared, to stop and bail them out.
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Old 11-20-11, 03:32 PM   #17
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I assume that the people that don't tools, tubes and patch kits, don't really know how to fix any mechanical problems. My spouse would have no need for any of these items. She would just use a cell phone.
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Old 11-20-11, 03:54 PM   #18
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I assume that the people that don't tools, tubes and patch kits, don't really know how to fix any mechanical problems. .
Even though they might not know how to use them, that's no excuse for them not to carry the basic items, and perhaps a more mechanically inclined cyclist would lend a hand and fix.

I probably wouldn't feel too happy if I stopped to help someone who wanted to "borrow" my tube, my pump, my levers, my hands.... And have the same person smoke me up a climb because I'm carrying extra weight and he's riding a 15 lb rig.
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Old 11-20-11, 05:03 PM   #19
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Even though they might not know how to use them, that's no excuse for them not to carry the basic items, and perhaps a more mechanically inclined cyclist would lend a hand and fix.
The problem is they don't know what they don't know. They have no idea what to carry that would allow an experienced mechanic to help them.

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I probably wouldn't feel too happy if I stopped to help someone who wanted to "borrow" my tube, my pump, my levers, my hands.... And have the same person smoke me up a climb because I'm carrying extra weight and he's riding a 15 lb rig.
Not going to happen. Anyone riding a 15 pound bike should have the ability to at least fix a flat. Or you can ignore their plight and be guilt-free.
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Old 11-20-11, 07:22 PM   #20
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Every time I sell a bike, I include a tube and a set of tire levers. Until that point, most folks aren't even aware that flats happen. One woman I talked to told me she just walked to the nearest road (from the mup) and flagged down a ride. Multiple times.
I, of course, carry the kitchen sink. I have an entire bag dedicated to tubes, folding tire, patches, glue, tire guage. The other bag carries the tools, including a chain tool and a faux leatherman. It's nice to have those needlenose. The handlebar bag carries the sandwiches, street shorts, sunscreen, etc. I need to get a rack or two for that bike.
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Old 11-20-11, 07:41 PM   #21
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I think they usually are people that never had a problem. I bet 90% (if they plan on riding more) pick up
all the essentials after a flat or 2.
If I remember back to when I started biking regularly, I don't think I took any tools. I think I rode for a couple of summers
flat free before a few flats made me pick up a patching kit. I rode for many years with just a patching kit
until someone said they carry an extra tube and just replace the punctured one and fix it when they
got home. Then I started carrying an extra tube.
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Old 11-20-11, 08:25 PM   #22
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Somewhere there's a sweet spot between foolishly carefree and obsessively uptight. Everybody draws that line differently.
Wisdom so pure.
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Old 11-20-11, 08:43 PM   #23
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If somebody is quite a ways from help, or the weather is bad, or it is a nice looking lady, I stop and get them going again. I suggest a few tools and parts they should be carrying. If they are close to help, or display a bad attitude, I wave as I ride on by. How are they going to learn if somebody always bails them out?
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Old 11-20-11, 09:21 PM   #24
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The one good thing about people who don't know diddly about bike repair/maintenance is that sometimes they are sources of good bikes cheap. I've picked up a few entry and mid-level bikes for little or nothing because they wouldn't shift or the brakes didn't work and all they needed was cleaning, lube, adjustment and maybe a new cable or two. Found a 1990 Schwinn Caliente in excellent condition literally on a scrap metal heap last spring. Its only problem was that it needed new tires and some general cleaning and tuning. Less than $40 and a lazy afternoon later, it worked a treat and looked almost new except for a few specks in the chrome and some minor blemishes in the decals. Sold it for $125 but almost wish I had kept it.
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Old 11-20-11, 09:47 PM   #25
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I am a commuter, and while I do carry tools, I have no interest in repairing my bike on the side of the road. I leave myself only enough time to get to work, so I wear my office attire on my bike, and I don't have the clothes or time to repair my bike on the road.

My bikes are extremely well maintained, and I run puncture resistant tires so I very very rarely have a problem. On those rare occasions, I lock up my rig and take the nearest bus the rest of the way. Then come back later and repair my bike when it is convenient. I have only had to use the bus once so far this year, and I was able to pick up my bike with my wife's car and repair it in my garage.

This may sound ridiculous, but after 6 years of commuting every day I have found this to be the best use of my time.
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