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Old 08-21-05, 02:42 PM   #1
2mtr
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samaratin mechanics

I've been in the habit of "fixing" people's bikes while they're away. Is that bad? I'll put triflow on drivetrains and stuff. But yesterday, I was locked up next to a beach cruiser with a plastic bag wrapped around the rear cog, and I took it off. It only involved taking the wheel off and then putting it back on. I threw some triflow on afterwards. Is this bad? Technically, I guess it's illegal. But ethically?
It wasn't so hard, and I was good and compotent about it. But still...
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Old 08-21-05, 03:03 PM   #2
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Well, I wax my chain, and basically you can run your hand along my drivetrain and not get a bit greasy or grimy - so if you sprayed tri-flow on my transmission I'd be a bit PISSED!
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Old 08-21-05, 03:17 PM   #3
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I wouldn't like it if someone surrepitiously 'fixed' my bike, although we know the gesture is in good faith.
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Old 08-21-05, 03:18 PM   #4
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So you're saying that you fix bikes owned by people you've never met?

Was the plastic bag there to be protecting something?

I can't think of anyone that I know personally that would complain if their bike was miraciously fixed or upgraded, although i'm sure there are some out there that will disagree with it. It is probably more likely that folks will question your competance in fixing bikes (people you dont know and/or dont know you).

I certainly dont see how putting lubricant on drivetrains that obviously need it is a bad thing. Chances are these people dont know to lubricate, and rarely even look at the drivetrain, so they probably wouldn't notice enough to say anything.

I say more power to you, but others may disagree..
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Old 08-21-05, 03:53 PM   #5
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if these bikes had wax on the drivetrains, I'd know.Yeah, I guess you can't win. so much for me trying to be a good person.
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Old 08-21-05, 04:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2mtr
if these bikes had wax on the drivetrains, I'd know.Yeah, I guess you can't win. so much for me trying to be a good person.

I think a better way to be a good sam (and I've done this) is OFFER help instead of assuming it's desired.

BTW, is your username an Amateur Radio reference?
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Old 08-21-05, 04:03 PM   #7
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2mtr it's always fun until some moke beats your azz for messin' with his bike.
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Old 08-21-05, 06:13 PM   #8
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You're not doing Meth. when you fix these bikes are you?... j/k.
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Old 08-21-05, 06:22 PM   #9
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I'd not be impressed if someone oiled my chain. I don't do it for fear of washing dirt into the rollers, only off the bike after washing it. The one time I did it on the bike, the amount of dirt sticking to the chain was massive due to excess oil on the outside of the chain (where it's not needed).

So please stay away from my chain and any other bits, my bike is holy to me.
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Old 08-21-05, 06:30 PM   #10
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Sorry, but I can't say I would be impressed if I locked my bicycle up, and returned to find someone removing my wheel.

I know you might mean well ... but some people are a bit touchy about others touching their bicycles.

For example, one of my personal pet peeves is when I take my bicycle into the shop so they can fix this and that, but NOT my brakes ... and when I get my bicycle back I discover that they've messed with my brakes. I HATE having my brakes too close to the rim. I LIKE them loose ... much looser than most riders like them apparently. And yet every single time I've taken my bicycle to the shop ... even when I've specifically stated that I don't want the brakes touched ... the mechanic has adjusted my brakes for me so that they are practically riding on the rims. It takes me forever to re-adjust my front brakes the way I like them. Not only that, but I've also had friends look over my bicycle and comment on various things, like cyclists do, and then reach down and flip the lever to adjust my brakes tighter to the rim!!! AAAAHHHHH!!!

So ... if you had opted to remove my wheel, you would likely have had to loosen off my brakes ... and when you put it back on, you would likely have been tempted to "fix" them so that they practically ride on the rim. And I would have been very upset.


If you would like to help, perhaps inquiring whether the owner would like a little oil for their chain might be the better way to go.
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Old 08-21-05, 07:24 PM   #11
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GACK! I'd definitely be in the "what the heck are you DOING?" camp. I'm seriously anal about my bikes and who works on them (pretty much me, and me alone).
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Old 08-22-05, 01:48 AM   #12
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Honestly, I think that most of us here are NOT the average cyclist. We are anal beyond belief (even those of us who think we aren't). You can tell when someone is anal about their bike, and when they aren't. And you all are very anal people.

I think a few drops of lube on someone's chain is a nice thing to do (you can tell the difference between a waxed chain and a 'hasn't seen lube or cleaning solution in 9 years' chain).

Going so far as to pull a wheel to fix something might be misconstrued easily, but the end result is positive.

I occasionally fix my neighbor's bikes without their knowledge, but usually little things, like air in tires, brake toe in (to stop the squeal), lubrication, etc. They are good people, they just don't understand bikes. We sometimes ride together, and I HATE riding with people who's bikes are messed up. Going into our common basement and tweaking a few things like a lube angel late at night is the best way sometimes.

No one appreciates a favor anymore, but if they don't realize they received it, they'll still benefit, and the world will be a tiny bit better.

peace,
sam
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Old 08-22-05, 01:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka
Not only that, but I've also had friends look over my bicycle and comment on various things, like cyclists do, and then reach down and flip the lever to adjust my brakes tighter to the rim!!! AAAAHHHHH!!!
Not to be picky, but are you using the quick release lever on the side of the caliper to open the brake pads up? You aren't really supposed to use the brakes when the lever is in the 'wide' position, so mechanics are probably just flipping it to the safe position, not realizing you extended the lever intentionally. If you want your pads farther out, use the adjusting barrel on the lever or the caliper to move the pads farther out, but while keeping the quick release lever on its 'in' position. That might be better understood as a deliberate adjustment, instead of a potentially injurious misuse of the quick release lever.

If thats NOT what you are doing, proceed to ignore what I just said.

Many people like the pads a little farther out, especially if they are using non-adjustable reach levers and have small hands (like me, and maybe you). That way the engagement happens at a point in the lever throw that is closer in, giving us a better grip during braking. On my adjustable lever bikes I keep the pads close, and adjust the levers in closer, and on my non-adjustable lever bikes the pads go a bit farther out, so I can actually modulate the braking.

peace,
sam
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Old 08-22-05, 02:24 AM   #14
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Yes, it's bad and it's wrong. It's not your property so stay away from it. And if someone injures himself after your "adjustments", he can sue the hell out of you. If you want to fix bikes, go work for your LBS (and get paid for it too).
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Old 08-22-05, 02:57 AM   #15
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I agree. I like unusual modifications and I like to have things my way. Other people don't always understand why. A stranger certainly wouldn't.

Stay away from people's bikes unless they allow you to fix them!
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Old 08-22-05, 09:23 AM   #16
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I would be furious if someone tampered with my bike without my consent. Shoot - I would be mad if someone touched my bike! What if you accidentally scratch it or knock it over? Or, as someone mentioned, if they were used to the way it operates and got into an accident because something was different? Leave a note suggesting the repair, or wait around and do it with the owner's permission. Great, nice, honorable idea, but not quite, in my opinion.
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Old 08-22-05, 09:32 AM   #17
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"What if you accidentally scratch it"
-3cannondales

lol you sound like a 'cager' . Why do people care about non-functional scratches (scratches that dont have any effect on the integrity or usefulness of the item)?
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Old 08-22-05, 09:51 AM   #18
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Because if you get enough of them your bike looks like crap.

I keep a can of automotive enamel & promptly fix any paint damage. People think the bike is new. (upgraded 1991 Peugeot Success, my main ride).
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Old 08-22-05, 09:52 AM   #19
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I still submit that you are all WAY more anal than the average bike owner. I doubt any of you prefer a rusted chain with zero lubrication as one of your special performance enhancing custom modifications. A few drops of lube on that can only do good, even 3-in-1 would be an improvement.

I parked next to an old mercedes just like mine the other day, only the hood star was twisted, as though someone had made a half-assed attempt to pull it off. I straightened it as I walked by.

However, I will recount another story that provides a counter argument:

Biologist Tim Flannery was in deep Papau New Guinea. He was studying the bizarre animals there, many of which had never been cataloged or studied. While he was there, he spent a lot of time with various tribes living there, and got help from them as guides. Most of the villages were completely primitive, except for a few little things. Metal knives, for instance, were highly valued, and what we would see as a torn up old knife would be a family heirloom, passed from parent to child. Problem was, they didn't have any knife sharpeners. Every knife was dull, and everyone was constantly hacking through things, trying to make crude cuts with dull knives. Tim had a sharpener with him, so he sharpened his guide's knife. The other people in the village heard about it, so they all brought their knives to him. He ended up sharpening everyone's knives. At first he was pleased with himself, because he had done such a nice favor for everyone. But then, everyone in town started cutting themselves! They had never used a sharp knife before, and since they were inexperienced, and not aware of just how fast they would cut, they ended up slicing their hands constantly, and Tim spend just as much time on first aid as he did on knife sharpening.

So anyway, be careful what you give people!

peace,
sam
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Old 08-22-05, 10:09 AM   #20
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phidauex - that's what i think would happen if he were to leave notes offering to repair people's bikes.. the word would spread and he would have an increasingly large workload.

"I still submit that you are all WAY more anal than the average bike owner."
-phidauex

i definetly agree here.. the people he's helping probably aren't familiar with proper bike maintanance.

edit: out of curiousity i looked up 'anal' and 'anal-retentive'

aĚnal-reĚtenĚtive (nl-r-tntv)
adj. Psychology

Indicating personality traits, such as meticulousness, avarice, and obstinacy, originating in habits, attitudes, or values associated with infantile pleasure in retention of feces.

aĚnal Audio pronunciation of "anal" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (nl)
adj.

1. Of, relating to, or near the anus.
2. Psychology.
1. Of or relating to the second stage of psychosexual development in psychoanalytic theory, roughly from ages one to three, during which gratification is derived from sensations associated with the anus and defecation. The anal stage is preceded by the oral stage and followed by the phallic stage.
2. Indicating personality traits that originated during toilet training and are distinguished as anal-expulsive or anal-retentive.


Being 'anal' or 'anal-rententive' seems to be a defense mechanism of some sort, based in irrationality.

Last edited by toThinkistoBe; 08-22-05 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 08-22-05, 05:36 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phidauex
I parked next to an old mercedes just like mine the other day, only the hood star was twisted, as though someone had made a half-assed attempt to pull it off. I straightened it as I walked by.
You could set off the car alarm in some instances doing something like that. I still contend that if it is not yours, don't touch it.

And YES we are protective about our bicycles!! We paid good money for them, and have them set up how we like them, and prefer that complete strangers don't touch them.

However, I do know that there are some people out there who really don't care much about their bicycles -- maybe they didn't pay much for them ... maybe riding a bicycle is something they do three times a year, and only around the block or to the beach or whatever. And maybe those people don't care what another person does to their bicycles. But the problem is ... a complete stranger may not know if the bicycle belongs to someone who really cares about it, or someone who doesn't.
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Old 08-23-05, 12:30 AM   #22
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The worst thing about this is that you've given me another thing to worry about - people having messed with my bike in a non-damaging way that doesn't show straight away.
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Old 08-23-05, 03:10 AM   #23
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Fancy nipping round my house and rebuilding a Land Rover gearbox
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Old 08-23-05, 08:28 AM   #24
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"a complete stranger may not know if the bicycle belongs to someone who really cares about it, or someone who doesn't."
-Machka

not necessarily true. if you park next to a bike with rusty or obviously never/rarely lubricated drivetrain, that'd give you a pretty good idea. It seems that the OP isn't just going around arrogantly tweaking/oiling everyone's bicycles. It seems to me that the situation more resembles something like "wow the drivetrain on that bike looks nasty *squirt squirt*. there maybe that'll help some"..

it seems like most of the people in this thread are assuming that the OP is asking if they would mind if he fixed/oiled their bicycles, but most of the bicycles owned by bikeforum members are already cared for properly, so they wouldn't fall into the category of 'fix me, fix me, yeah, oil my drivetrain, ooh that's nice' bicycles. know what i'm sayin?
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Old 08-23-05, 09:01 AM   #25
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Even though the motivation may be to do something good, I don't think people should mess with other people's property without their permission. I suppose there is a grey area, but if you are going so far as to take the wheel off, then that is too much. If I saw a bike with a leather saddle with a dislodged rain cover being rained on, I would probably adjust it for them so that the saddle didn't get ruined, but I don't think altering their bike in any way is cool.

Quote:
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Fancy nipping round my house and rebuilding a Land Rover gearbox
I got a good chuckle out of that!
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