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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-02-11, 10:44 PM   #1
B.Alive
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Woo Hoo Back to School!!!

Bike Maintenance Classes that is....

There's an organization in Pittsburgh called "Free Ride." Their Mission statement goes like this: "Free Ride is a collective dedicated to recycling bicycles, offering mechanical education, and promoting bicycling by helping people of all ages and backgrounds obtain, maintain, and repair bicycles."

They have a really cool program where you can volunteer at the shop--cleaning, helping others, repairing bikes for sale, and so on--and earn a bike. You and a volunteer choose a bike, decide on a price, then work enough hours to pay for the bike (each hour is worth $8.) There are a few rules, but they're not hard rules!

One of the other services they offer are bike maintenance classes. I just found out I got into the first 6 week session of the year (sessions are limited to the first 12 folks who register!!!!) The session is $75 (two classes are required if you want to do the Adult Earn a Bike) and covers a lot of really great things:

Week 1 Tubes, tires and flats
Week 2 Hubs and bearings
Week 3 Wheel truing
Week 4 The Drivetrain (chains, chainrings, cranks, bottom brackets)
Week 5 Brakes, cables and housings
Week 6 Derailleurs

I'm taking these classes for a few reasons. I love to tinker, am fairly mechanically inclined, I love my bike, my LBS is an hour+ away, I may want to earn a mountain bike, and I really want to help build/rebuild/repair recycled bikes for folks. Pus, I just love being around like minded individuals.

They have Advance Classes too. I may take the Wheel Building 1 and Wheel Building 2 classes after the Sunday Series Classes are over.

Just wanted to share my excitement!!!
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Old 03-02-11, 11:21 PM   #2
Mr. Beanz
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Sounds like a "very" cool idea, better than burpless cucumbers!
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Old 03-03-11, 02:01 AM   #3
ecovelo
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Totally cool!!

I can understand your excitement! I've collected a couple of bike maintenance books over the years.... and I also took a Park Tool class that was totally awesome! (When my brother and I were kids, we used to take our bikes apart and put them back together again...like it was no big deal - and I realized as I was approaching my 40's that I was intimidated by a flat tire! so I had to do something about that!)

I still go to my LBS for important things - and just because I learned a few things and have some specific tools - I mostly don't have the time or patience to tinker as much as I would like. But the tools and the notes are always there....

If I ever win the lottery, one of the first things I want to do is go to bike mechanic's school!

I've gotten some help from the Bicycle Mechanics on BF, and you can often find bike maintenance videos on YouTube.

Have fun!!
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Old 03-03-11, 04:33 AM   #4
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I took a similar class at a local bicycle collective in Boulder, CO. It was very useful in helping me get started with taking care of my own bikes. It helps to be able to work hands on until you have a firm grasp of the basics and have no fear of trashing your bike.
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Old 03-03-11, 05:30 AM   #5
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I'd love to do that. The classes that is. In fact a week long class in Florida sounds great right now.
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Old 03-03-11, 06:41 AM   #6
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You'll love it! I find that ripping into my "new" old bike is theraputic and relaxing. Plus it's really easy. A bike broken down into it's basic components is a very simple machine. There is no voodoo magic to it.

Last night I trued my rear wheel, repacked the bearings, flushed out the freehub, and then cleaned, degreased, and oiled my rear deraileur. That all took me about 3 hours with stopping for cooking and eating dinner in between.
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Old 03-03-11, 09:22 PM   #7
B.Alive
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I'm really stoked! Starts on March 13th. First week may be a little basic with "Tires and Tubes" but I can still learn something!
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