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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 09-02-09, 12:43 PM   #1
Pig_Chaser
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Ever worked on a co-worker's bike?

Without their knowledge?
A new bike showed up in the shop yesterday so I checked it out. It was a mountain bike and the front brake wasn't working. I tracked down the owner, he has commuted via bicycle before and I mentioned the brake. He kinda dismissed it. Well I just went to the shop to put my lunch container into my pannier and there was his bike right next to mine, still with a non-functional front brake. I decided to take a quick look. Seemed like the front cable stop was missing. No, it was there, it had just pulled back into the housing. I pulled it out... yada yada yada, one thing led to another and next thing I know, I found myself testing and fine tuning the brakes. I'm pretty sure he'll appreciate it but for some reason it still seems kinda wrong.

His back tire was also on backwards, but I think I'll let that go.
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Old 09-02-09, 12:50 PM   #2
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Wrong of you, I think. Especially adjusting brakes.

What if you screwed it up and he crashed and was hurt?

Last edited by lambo_vt; 09-02-09 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 09-02-09, 12:50 PM   #3
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You probably just ruined his "how long can I ride without front brakes" goal. Good job.
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Old 09-02-09, 12:54 PM   #4
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How did you know the brake wasn't working in the first place?

Quit messing with other people's stuff.
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Old 09-02-09, 01:08 PM   #5
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Everybody seems so negative about your charity work, I personally think that was really nice of you. The poster who said what if he crashed and died...wtf? If anything he was more likely to crash and die because he had an dysfunctional brake. I generally would leave people's bikes alone in public, aside from pumping tires. Sometimes if I see a bike with really low pressure, I will just do it. I work at a bike shop, so I think it is alright.
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Old 09-02-09, 01:11 PM   #6
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Everybody seems so negative about your charity work, I personally think that was really nice of you. The poster who said what if he crashed and died...wtf? If anything he was more likely to crash and die because he had an dysfunctional brake. I generally would leave people's bikes alone in public, aside from pumping tires. Sometimes if I see a bike with really low pressure, I will just do it. I work at a bike shop, so I think it is alright.
I wouldn't want anybody "working" on my bike without my consent. I'm sure Pig_Chaser is a just plain wonderful mechanic, but what if he's not?

Is it "charity work" if you replace the brake pads in your neighbor's Taurus without his knowledge?
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Old 09-02-09, 02:06 PM   #7
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Or what about the first time he grabs a handful of (in his mind) non-existent brake and endos?
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Old 09-02-09, 02:08 PM   #8
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I think the responses are skewed in this forum.
Like most here, I would be PO'ed if someone tinkered with my bikes.
OTOH, if I knew nothing about them, I'd be grateful for the assistance.
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Old 09-02-09, 02:30 PM   #9
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I think the responses are skewed in this forum.
Like most here, I would be PO'ed if someone tinkered with my bikes.
OTOH, if I knew nothing about them, I'd be grateful for the assistance.
I know he was trying to be helpful. What would one of your coworkers say though if they came out of work and found you bleeding the brakes on their car?
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Old 09-02-09, 02:39 PM   #10
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I'm not following your comparative example, yet I think we may be on the same page.
One of the beautiful things about bicycles is their relative mechanical simplicity compared to automobiles.
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Old 09-02-09, 02:57 PM   #11
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I replaced the BB bearings on my co-worker's bike. My wife is away for the summer, so I will be getting a cooked supper in exchange.
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Old 09-02-09, 04:03 PM   #12
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I pulled my workstand out of the basement to the alley to work on bikes for four
coworkers this summer. I too have a great dinner coming.
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Old 09-02-09, 06:41 PM   #13
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Without their knowledge?
Hell no. Point out an issue if I see it, maybe; lend a tool if there's a problem. Work on it without their knowledge and consent, no way.
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Old 09-02-09, 06:50 PM   #14
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Without their knowledge?
A new bike showed up in the shop yesterday so I checked it out. It was a mountain bike and the front brake wasn't working. I tracked down the owner, he has commuted via bicycle before and I mentioned the brake. He kinda dismissed it.
Shoulda stopped there.

I'd be livid if someone tinkered around with my bike without my knowledge. Especially if said someone had already mentioned it to me and I had dismissed the problem or percieved issue.

I ride with my brake levers reversed, and would flip a pile of fecal matter if someone flipped them around and I endo'd, or couldn't stop effectively.
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Old 09-02-09, 07:16 PM   #15
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I fix my co workers bike all the time. I sold three on the flip to one of them and two to another. I fix them when I notice something wrong.

I would have fixed the brakes but I sure wouldn't have fixed brakes without warning them. I'd be worried they would grab for the fronts knowing there was next to nothing and then go over the handle bars when they had a full handle of brakes without knowing.
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Old 09-02-09, 07:28 PM   #16
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NEVER! ....... says the group who take their bicycles very personally and seriously. Including me.

Not everyone does. The OP didn't do a major change / overhaul; he put a cable back into place and adjusted what was already there.

Here's a comparison - I use my ice skates once or twice a year. I'm sitting in the warming house and the hut-keeper offers to sharpen my blades because he noticed they're really dull. I give him a non-committal 'whatever' shrug. I go to get a cup of coffee and return to find he sharpened them. I would be glad but not ecstatic because I really don't care. I certainly wouldn't be angry.
The hut-keeper then posts the story on an ice skaters board - people who buy quality equipment and take skating very seriously. "He didn't really care but I did it anyway" he says. People would be livid about what he did. "Completely out of bounds"! they would say.
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Old 09-02-09, 07:34 PM   #17
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Not everyone does. The OP didn't do a major change / overhaul; he put a cable back into place and adjusted what was already there.
I dunno, I feel like working on the front brake of all things is actually relatively major. I don't think I would have responded so negatively if the OP had cleaned the guy's chain or topped off his water bottles or something.
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Old 09-02-09, 07:35 PM   #18
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The OP didn't do a major change / overhaul; he put a cable back into place and adjusted what was already there.
Going from no front brake to a fully functional (I'm assuming) front brake isn't a major change?
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Old 09-02-09, 07:47 PM   #19
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Going from no front brake to a fully functional (I'm assuming) front brake isn't a major change?
I wouldn't call it one, unless the brake was previously entirely missing. Of course, he should tell him the brake is operational.
Perhaps the OP could just ask the guy if he felt he was out of line and report back here.
Maybe I'm way off base.

To me (and most of you) adjusting a brake lever angle 2 mm is a major change.
To a casual rider, making a busted brake operational would (seem to me) not be a violation of his/her personal preferences, boundaries, etc...

Last edited by MNBikeguy; 09-02-09 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 09-02-09, 08:21 PM   #20
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Have some real fun and reverse the brake levers!
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Old 09-02-09, 08:26 PM   #21
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Um, no. No. Don't touch other people's things. Certainly don't try to fix them.

I was very tempted to fix a QR wheel once on a bike parked on the street. The owner didn't know what the hell QR was all about, so instead of flipping it closed, he just kept it in the opened position and tightened it as much as he could. I thought of leaving a note, but had no pen or paper on me, nor knew where to get it in the area on short notice. So I just left... they do have lawyer lips these days, after all.
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Old 09-02-09, 08:42 PM   #22
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If I see people riding a bike that is unsafe as in, the QR isn't closed I will mention to them and most are happy to find out how to adjust it.

I also do a lot of roadside repairs... I adjusted a ladies mis-adjusted brake last Saturday morning, tuned up a 3 speed that was not shifting, trued up a messenger's front wheel on Monday...

But I am a professional mechanic and always work with consent.

Pig Chaser is an awesome guy and think he'd give you the shirt off his back but generosity has to have limits... before working on someone's bike always make sure they know you are doing this and get their consent.
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Old 09-02-09, 08:47 PM   #23
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Not a co-workers bike but I have fixed my share of flats for the neighborhood kids. I have the luxury of being able to ride to school in the mornings with my daughter. Her friends always ask me if I can help them.
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Old 09-02-09, 11:07 PM   #24
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Anyone who is qualified wants to swap my stem / put on a new seat on my road bike and put some air in the ole tires go right ahead, I have NO problem with it.
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Old 09-03-09, 10:16 AM   #25
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Haven't worked on a co-workers bike yet. However I bought a junker Raleigh from my boss, and my Motobecane from a co-workers Husband.
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