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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 09-07-05, 04:28 PM   #1
Roody
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What do you do when your bike's in the shop?

I bought new pedals today and the wrench told my my bottom bracket is "wasted." He said I should have it replaced immediately, but I didn't have any alternative transportation in place. I thought a minute and told him I was going to ride carefully to work today and tomorrow, then leave the bike there on Friday. Luckily, I will be going out of town for a few days anyway.

I later thought that I should have asked the LBS if they had a "loaner bike," or even arranged to rent one for a few days. Jerry (my stepson) said I could borrow his new bike, but I hated to put him out.

What have you folks done when your bike is in the shop for a few days?
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Old 09-07-05, 04:38 PM   #2
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lol, between my wife and I, we own 9 bicycles and 2 kick bikes...so it's generally not an issue. ...the real issue is finding places to keep all of these darn bikes!

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Old 09-07-05, 05:00 PM   #3
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I usually set up an appointment with my shop where I can bring it in a certain day and time and have them do the work, then I just walk around for a few hours and come back to it. They are real good about it and yours might be too if they know you as a good customer.
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Old 09-07-05, 05:46 PM   #4
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You should learn to do more of your own maintenance. BB's are rather simple to change. In fact, invest in a good tool assortment and do everything yourself. You would be suprised at how easy and straight foward it is, and you really get to know your bike. Plus, it will make you invincible- if it breaks, YOU can fix it. And you still support the guys at your LBS since you still have to buy parts and lubes. It's a win-win. Go for it! Read Sheldon Browns website for a good start on the how-to's. You can get parts there, too.
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Old 09-07-05, 06:15 PM   #5
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yeah, I replace my BB, wheels, cassettes/freewheels, headset, brakes... on my own.

I also have a few bikes. Mind you, only one is in working order at the moment.
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Old 09-07-05, 07:57 PM   #6
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I ride one of my other bikes.

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Old 09-07-05, 08:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
What have you folks done when your bike is in the shop for a few days?
My shop is in the basement. When I need the bike, I just get out the tool kit and spare parts and fix it. Otherwise I ride one of my other bikes.
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Old 09-07-05, 08:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JASON R. TOMSIC
You should learn to do more of your own maintenance. BB's are rather simple to change. In fact, invest in a good tool assortment and do everything yourself. You would be suprised at how easy and straight foward it is, and you really get to know your bike. Plus, it will make you invincible- if it breaks, YOU can fix it. And you still support the guys at your LBS since you still have to buy parts and lubes. It's a win-win. Go for it! Read Sheldon Browns website for a good start on the how-to's. You can get parts there, too.
Yeah i know . . . but . . . I am the mechanics klutz. I don't have much background for this. I am proud to say that I have changed chains, brake pads, reconnected brakes, adjusted derailleurs, of course changed tires and tubes, patched tubes, and a few other of the simpler things. The problem is, if I try to fix it myself, the bike is going to be out of commission even longer than if the shop does it! also, I am afraid that I will do something wrong and really mess it up. I do search the mechanics subforum to find out more.
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Old 09-07-05, 10:10 PM   #9
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Regarding the bottom bracket:
no, you won't do something wrong and REALLY mess it up. They're not very complicated. (especially the sealed kind, which are quite cheap these days.) And you will learn from the process of replacing a bottom bracket. Really, the mechanic aspect of it is no more complicated than replacing brakes, though it may require tools you would have to buy. (for no more than than the cost of having someone do the work for you. and then you'd have the tools and knowlege.)
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Old 09-08-05, 01:35 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Roody

What have you folks done when your bike is in the shop for a few days?

labor day weekend, a couple broken spokes, no extra spokes or wheel...

can't use spare bike - pulled several small parts in order to repair girlfriends' bike after her wreck.

don't feel like using heavy geared bike chained downstairs in the garage...

so i dusted off the running shoes and simply got up a bit earlier and walked every place i had to go...
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Old 09-08-05, 06:45 AM   #11
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not a problem...we have 9 bikes in the garage between the two of us.

and, for most things, the shop = my basement.
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Old 09-08-05, 06:55 AM   #12
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Ya gotta have a beater bike, preferably a dependable fixed gear, to use on the rare occasions your main bike is out of action.

And besides, if your bike was good enough to ride to the shop, it should be good enough to ride from the shop.
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Old 09-08-05, 08:31 AM   #13
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I am the shop.

But I just ride one of my other bikes.
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Old 09-08-05, 02:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Yeah i know . . . but . . . I am the mechanics klutz. I don't have much background for this. I am proud to say that I have changed chains, brake pads, reconnected brakes, adjusted derailleurs, of course changed tires and tubes, patched tubes, and a few other of the simpler things. The problem is, if I try to fix it myself, the bike is going to be out of commission even longer than if the shop does it! also, I am afraid that I will do something wrong and really mess it up. I do search the mechanics subforum to find out more.
Hey Roody --
I know exactly what you mean; I'm a walking high-entropy zone. Any time I set out to fix something -- especially if I'm trying a particular repair for the first time, but even for jobs I would have sworn are routine -- I know that:

1) Eventually, I will almost certainly get it working, if only by trying every possible wrong way of putting it together until I stumble on the right one.
2) There is no way in hell to predict how long this will take.

Even when I end up putting my bike out of commission for days at a time, I always learn enough to be glad I did the job myself. But you can launch a project with much more peace of mind if you've got a second vehicle to fall back on until your main one is working again.

Recreational cyclists can afford to own only one bike; car-free cyclists are much better off with a backup or two. Keep your eyes open for inexpensive used bikes. If you make a habit of keeping a few of those around (and keeping them in decent shape), then you're never stuck without transportation when your main ride is in pieces in the garage. Then you have the luxury of messing around with the repair job until you really get it right, rather than rushing because you need your bike back. Or if you decide to let the LBS do the job instead, you can give the work to the shop you like best, rather than the one that can get it done quickest.

Best of all, you've always got a few basic but decent bikes to loan or give to someone who could use one. You'll get enjoyable rides with friends this way, and might even convert a few new car-free folks by offering them transportation when their car dies on them.

(You can also use one of the backup bikes as a "guinea pig" -- if the repair job seems especially tricky, try it on a second-string bike before taking apart your main one.)

Take care, and enjoy the ride,
- Paul

Edited because the word "almsot" does not exist.

Last edited by Paul Graham; 09-08-05 at 02:14 PM. Reason: the word "almsot" does not exist
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Old 09-08-05, 03:24 PM   #15
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I hop on the other bike. But lord help me if I ever get down to the mod trials bike. That'll take me 1/2 hour to get out of my parking lot.
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Old 09-08-05, 04:06 PM   #16
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I own multiple bikes so it's not much of an issue.

In my town there's also a mobile bike repair service. They pick up the bike, fix it, and return the same day.
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Old 09-08-05, 04:21 PM   #17
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You guys have convinced me -- I need to get a second bike. The only thing stopping me is a lack of storage space, so I will have to get some kind of rack too. The other sticking point is deciding which type of bike to get.
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Old 09-08-05, 04:37 PM   #18
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I'm really lucky that I can use public transit. The public transit is actually more convenient than riding my bike, but I prefer my bike.
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Old 09-08-05, 05:32 PM   #19
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I too don't have a back up bike. That is something I'm hoping to correct here shortly

When I went car-free I deliberately moved near Metro so I can walk to/from the station whenever I am without wheels.

Another key thing is finding a LBS that understands your dependancy on the bike. It took some searching but I'm now hooked up with a shop that will pretty much drop what they are doing and fix it right then and there.

I once had a shop tell me it would take 2 weeks to true a wheel. I haven't been back to them since. I think the economics of many bike shops dictate that the few bike mechanics they have are dedicated to building up new bikes to sell rather than odd repairs on existing ones. I suppose a new bike sale with all the accessories is where the $ are at.
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Old 09-08-05, 07:04 PM   #20
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roody, if you need a 2nd bike and don't have much space, consider a low-end folding bike. easy to store, relatively cheap, and dependable (with regular maintenance!)

you can get a brand-new Dahon for under $400 I think.
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Old 09-08-05, 07:18 PM   #21
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Yeah a 2nd beater bike is a good idea. I'm actually kind of thinking of getting a cheap (but quality) BMX bike because they're small and easy to throw into a rental car and besides, I never did perfect the wheelie.
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Old 09-08-05, 07:22 PM   #22
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Any time I set out to fix something -- especially if I'm trying a particular repair for the first time, but even for jobs I would have sworn are routine -- I know that:

1) Eventually, I will almost certainly get it working, if only by trying every possible wrong way of putting it together until I stumble on the right one.
2) There is no way in hell to predict how long this will take.
I know the feeling. But one thing that can help is picking parts that are inherently less troublesome. For example, friction shifters are quite simple, while the thousand varieties of indexed shifter all have the potential to index to the wrong place, or to just quit picking up cable. I don't understand how a lot of indexed shifters work, and even if I did they're not designed to be taken apart for repair. I find sealed bottom brackets (a newfangled invention, perhaps) to be relatively idiot-proof, though. It took me a couple years of doing my own bike maintenance, but I feel like i'm pretty well at a point where if something goes seriously wrong with my bike, one day out of my weekend will be enough to strip down the bike and properly replace any problematic part on there. (I might do well to buy a spare of some of the parts I could potentially need though.)
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