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Old 01-10-08, 08:58 PM   #1
Digital Gee
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I'd like to apologize...

I know that sometimes I can get out of control, posting way too many questions. It's happened again, with my posts about fixing up the two old bikes I've just brought home. From time to time, I get this idea into my head that I can be a competent, amateur bike wrench. It's got something to do with really admiring those of you who can do that stuff, and wanting to be more like you. It's got something to do with this image that I've got (and that has been painted occasionally on the forum) that good cyclists know how to do their own repairs. Kind of a parallel to "real men don't eat quiche."

But the truth is that I've never been very good at fixing stuff, whether it's cars, kitchen plumbing, or bikes. It's just not in my DNA.

And I'm old enough that I should know better by now. So I want to apologize to all of you who took valuable time giving me suggestions about Plan A or Plan B, or what to put into a basic tool kit, or how to fix my FD. I'm sorry I wasted your time.

I'm being serious, which may be hard to believe, but I am. I feel rather foolish tonight and thought I should apologize.
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Old 01-10-08, 09:04 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
I know that sometimes I can get out of control, posting way too many questions. It's happened again, with my posts about fixing up the two old bikes I've just brought home. From time to time, I get this idea into my head that I can be a competent, amateur bike wrench. It's got something to do with really admiring those of you who can do that stuff, and wanting to be more like you. It's got something to do with this image that I've got (and that has been painted occasionally on the forum) that good cyclists know how to do their own repairs. Kind of a parallel to "real men don't eat quiche."

But the truth is that I've never been very good at fixing stuff, whether it's cars, kitchen plumbing, or bikes. It's just not in my DNA.

And I'm old enough that I should know better by now. So I want to apologize to all of you who took valuable time giving me suggestions about Plan A or Plan B, or what to put into a basic tool kit, or how to fix my FD. I'm sorry I wasted your time.

I'm being serious, which may be hard to believe, but I am. I feel rather foolish tonight and thought I should apologize.
Not incompetent.....overwhelmed with data.....you can run a camere but you can't fix a bike....Cough Cough.....I think not.....one step at a time...........Zinn.......now. I have much more confidence in you than your have.
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Old 01-10-08, 09:39 PM   #3
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Nooooooooooo!

Dont even start thinking that way. I feel that way every time I pick up a tool. It's just lack of confidence because YOU'VE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE! Do NOT feel like you can't ask questions! You just have to suck it up, accept that you need help, and fire away.

We all tease you because we like you, and we're totally up for all your questions. We're prepared for it, anticipating it, and support you! Isn't it great the internet is here!

But get Zinn's and try to stuggle through it yourself. As you do more, you'll be able to easier identify the points you get truly stuck. Read Zinn's, the blue book, and then go to Sheldon's site before you ask. Not because you're bothering anyone, but because it's the process of learning.

You can do it!

(I just spent 2.5 miserable, life-sucking hours setting up a HD TV/Cable box/older TV/home network thingie with no freaking directions to the cable box. I made 4 calls to the companies to get information. I'm having a service come out on Monday to mount the TV on the wall, and setting up my stuff is included in the price. But I thought I should try and set it up on my own, first, so that I could stay familiar with the equipment and so that I knew that I had all the cords I needed for the upgrade. This is the stuff that keeps our minds young!)
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Old 01-10-08, 09:46 PM   #4
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Don't feel bad, DG. just think of us as your online therapists. To make the experience more real, you can start by sending each of us a check for $100 for each consult.
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Old 01-10-08, 09:53 PM   #5
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Simple Bike repair

Here's a book I got to help me understand the fundamentals of bike repair.
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Old 01-10-08, 10:18 PM   #6
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As long as you keep posting that hilarious avartar -- and I'm being serious, it's hilarious -- then start all the "help me!" threads you want, Amigo!

EDIT: All right, maybe not all the threads you want, but a couple a day are OK...

SECOND EDIT: That "Amigo" thing was a spontaneous gaff, not a stereotype of those living in the greater San Diego area.


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Old 01-10-08, 10:31 PM   #7
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You can apologize to all the people who gave you serious advice all you want. I'm curious about how you feel about people who told you to get a cardboard box or certified or some really good degreaser or to make sure you have your cell phone and a six pack in your basic repair kit and stuff like that. Huh? What about us?
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Old 01-10-08, 10:33 PM   #8
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You can apologize to all the people who gave you serious advice all you want. I'm curious about how you feel about people who told you to get a cardboard box or certified or some really good degreaser or to make sure you have your cell phone and a six pack in your basic repair kit and stuff like that. Huh? What about us?
Oh I just shined you guys on.
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Old 01-10-08, 10:36 PM   #9
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Oh I just shined you guys on.

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Old 01-10-08, 10:43 PM   #10
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Look at it that way. No rush to learn, do it one step at a time.
Keep in mind that what you learn in your basement might help you on the road. What happens if your FD gets out of whack in the middle of a long ride 20 miles away from home or any LBS? It's all about learning to be self-sufficient, just in case.
But it has to be fun, so if it stresses you put in on the back burner for another time.
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Old 01-10-08, 10:44 PM   #11
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DG, you'll learn like most of us. Attempted repairs, failed repairs, successful repairs.

Having worked my way over the course of 4 decades, up from complete incompetence to even building my own wheels, I have to confess my shame. A spoke popped this evening while riding home and I actually dropped off the bike at the bike shop. My apartment is not set up well to do repairs. If I had just bought a single spoke it would have been about $1.00 or so to repair. But I imagine it will be $20.00. I'll be glad when I get somewhere that is more convenient to repair a bike. And it would be nice to learn machining, welding and painting.

Don't feel bad about all your questions. They really are good and more interesting than some others.
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Old 01-10-08, 10:46 PM   #12
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If we don't want to read a post or reply to a post, we won't. Heck, I ignore you all the time and I don't feel bad at all
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Old 01-10-08, 10:50 PM   #13
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"I never apologize.
I'm sorry, but that's just the way I am."

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Old 01-10-08, 11:07 PM   #14
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I am still thinking about all this. Maybe I have the aptitude, maybe I don't. When I was a child, my father could fix anything. He had a basement full of tools; he rescued old routers and ancient table saws and strange tools I can't even name from my grandfather's barn and used them another twenty years, and so on. In fact, he built the house I grew up in, almost single-handedly from plans he bought from a magazine.

But -- he wasn't good at teaching me those skills. He had no patience for a kid hanging around. He didn't want me using his tools, either. He was a product of the "Greatest Generation," as they say, and as such, he didn't say much. He just did what needed to be done, whether it was building shelves, fixing the plumbing, installing a new furnace, or whatever. But he did it alone.

So, I grew up without learning these things, and with the idea that a "Real Man" is one who DOES know these things. I think I inherited a value about mechanical self-reliance but didn't get the training.

Lots of people say working on bikes is easy, and it probably is. I think I'd do fine if my next door neighbor was someone who knew his way around a bike, and would let me tinker with him. My problem is when I open the pages of the bike repair book I have, the one published by Bicycling Magazine, I just can't translate the pictures to my own bike. Things don't look the same, plus (at least in this book) the black and white pictures aren't the greatest quality.

But even if they were, I get the same reaction in my tiny brain that I get when I try to understand and fill out a tax return. If you're familiar with Photoshop, it's as though someone applied a guassian blur to my brain.

Combine that with a quick temper when I drop a screw and it rolls out of sight, or I forget for the tenth time in a row to apply the brake to the rear wheel after testing the derailer before reaching in to make another adjustment, or my reading glasses slip once again as I look down, and it's just no fun.

I'd like to be able to do it, but maybe it's just not gonna happen.

I see our time is up. I'll schedule my next appointment with the receptionist. Thanks, Doc(s)!
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Old 01-10-08, 11:11 PM   #15
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But Mr. Soprano, how do you feel about the work you do, and how it might affect your children as they get older?
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Old 01-10-08, 11:24 PM   #16
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DG...I really don't know why you don't just take a class. All the bike shops up here have at least the basic one. If you have an REI, they offer an even more basic basic one.

Then, when you're done with that, take a complete overhaul class. There's only 2-3 people in any given class, so you'll really get a lot of education.

And don't think of it as a "girly thing" to do, just because I did it...I've only seen guys in these classes.
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Old 01-10-08, 11:28 PM   #17
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I like puttering around with simple adjustments. I've fixed flats, changed out three handlebars & two stems, made simple adjustments to derailleurs, changed brake pads, changed saddles & seat posts.

But would not attempt much more than that. No wheel truing, nothing to do with fixing a crank, wouldn't try to change a cable (I'm a klutz at stuff like that).

I like being able to handle simple adjustments and repairs, just like I do on my cars and in my house, but know better than to try anything complex.
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Old 01-10-08, 11:35 PM   #18
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I feel rather foolish tonight and thought I should apologize.
Made me think of the famous (infamous?) line uttered by one of Bouton's teammates from "Ball Four" - "it never hurts to apoligze...even if you don't mean it."

All kidding aside, I know you're sincere, but no apology is necessary because you did nothing to warrant one.

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Old 01-10-08, 11:56 PM   #19
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I like messing with the bikes because I'm very, very picky about fit and how things are working. If there's any brake or shifting sounds that don't belong, I'm all over it.
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Old 01-11-08, 12:43 AM   #20
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DG, wrenching is an added dimension to riding and can make for a more complete and satisfying experience as cyclist as well as make one feel more competent....but it's hardly required in order to be a Real Cyclist. For you, perhaps the value of slowly learning more would be to reinforce the lesson we learn every day here and on the road: many boundaries are self-imposed and melt away with an act of will and resourcefulness. So, don't give up but also don't feel compelled.....tinker for fun--you can't wreck anything the LBS can't undo.
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Old 01-11-08, 12:53 AM   #21
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Love means never having to say you're sorry.
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Old 01-11-08, 12:54 AM   #22
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Love means never having to say you're sorry.
Wouldn't that be great if you could animate your avatar to say that?
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Old 01-11-08, 12:56 AM   #23
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Fear of tools is nothing to be ashamed of. Like most phobias you can be desensitized to them away by gradual exposure.

I suggest you start with a few simple non-threatening tools -




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Old 01-11-08, 12:57 AM   #24
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Love means never having to say you're sorry.
So that is what happened to Farrah and Ryan's marriage!!

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Old 01-11-08, 01:01 AM   #25
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Gee,
Your sense of humor and self-effacing style is much appreciated here on the 50+ forum. We all digress into self-revealing reflective introspection from time to time -- just don't let it happen here too often!!
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