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Do young people know anything any more

Old 09-10-15, 10:54 AM
  #1  
rydabent
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Do young people know anything any more

Yesterday while out riding, towards me came a young im sure a college student walking his bike. I stopped and ask if he had bike trouble. He say yeah the chain broke or something. One glance showed the chain wasnt broken and just hanging down loose. The front of the chain had come off the small chain ring and was resting on the BB. I told him I could easily fix it and did so by putting the chain back on the small chain ring. He was kind of amazed I fixed it so fast and thanked me several times.

The question is being told just how bright young people are these days, why couldnt he see his problem?
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Old 09-10-15, 11:16 AM
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Maybe he knew but preferred to let the old guy get greasy.
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Old 09-10-15, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Maybe he knew but preferred to let the old guy get greasy.
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Old 09-10-15, 11:31 AM
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If you didn't grow up with a bike and had friends who rode bikes, then the machine may look pretty intimidating. Used to be that we could fix most things we bought, but now when most things break or wear out, they are simply replaced. Often it is practically impossible to fix modern items.
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Old 09-10-15, 11:51 AM
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In all fairness nobody is born with this knowledge. All the mechanical knowledge that we take for granted, from the most basic to the most advanced, is acquired in life. Some people have more exposure to mechanical things at a young age, and develop certain instincts that allow them to project beyond what they know, and cope with stuff like this, but many don't. So if this person never had a bike as a child, nor worked on mechanical things, I could understand his not knowing how simply this could be fixed.

OTOH- now that I've made some excuses, there's the flip side. I too am amazed by the inability of younger people to work out problems by themselves. I'm referring to all sorts of issues, not just mechanical. Maybe those raised before the information age had less support and learned how to live "out in the cold" and cope with situations as they develop, while post internet are used to looking up answers whenever confronted with a problem.
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Old 09-10-15, 12:01 PM
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Yea, Now you just look it up using your smarter Phone..

or write here, for someone else to do it for them ..
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Old 09-10-15, 12:13 PM
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I think most people, of all ages, have little interest in becoming a bike mechanic. The same reason people take their car to a mechanic for an oil change, or call a plumber to fix a clogged drain. If bicycling is going to become an everyday form of transportation, then there can't be any shame in simply taking a busted bike to a mechanic for repair. Even for something as simple as a flat tire. (Which is good for bike mechanics as a career choice, too.)
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Old 09-10-15, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Chesterton View Post
I think most people, of all ages, have little interest in becoming a bike mechanic. The same reason people take their car to a mechanic for an oil change, or call a plumber to fix a clogged drain. If bicycling is going to become an everyday form of transportation, then there can't be any shame in simply taking a busted bike to a mechanic for repair. Even for something as simple as a flat tire. (Which is good for bike mechanics as a career choice, too.)
There's a big difference between being a bike mechanic (amateur or as a living) and having a certain amount of self reliance on the road. Certain things, like flat tires, happen often that one should be able to cope with them. I won't list them all, but a dropped chain on a derailleur bike is definitely on that list, unless one wants to limit his radius for cycling to an hour or two of walking distance (5-6 miles tops). Of course, modern types have cell phones and can call for help.
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Old 09-10-15, 12:48 PM
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I dunno...

I can imagine what young people are saying about technologically challenged older people.

It probably goes like this... I was walking and saw this old guy just sitting and staring at this blank screen. He was probably hoping that if he looked at it long enough it would turn on.

John
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Old 09-10-15, 12:59 PM
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As a young man (24 is still young, right?!) I always stress that a foundation of knowledge will be a good deterrent from disappointment and frustration when it comes to cycling. Educate yourself then ride until your spirit, rear end, legs, or bike break!
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Old 09-10-15, 01:21 PM
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At my ~uncle's ranch,

his grandson (16 or 17) showed up w/ some buddies & asked if they could store an engine in one of the barns.

This was for one of the kid's drift car project.

They got the nod, & proceeded to hoist the engine out of the back of the pick up, get the forklift, & trundle to the back forty w/ the engine adequately secured.

I thought: "This is the upcoming generation that knows how to do stuff".
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Old 09-10-15, 01:32 PM
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I didnt get my hands greasy either. I carry shop rags in my trunk pack.

I guess what Im pointing out there is a huge difference between todays young, and us old guys. Im 77 still change my own oil do brake jobs, and have even helped reassemble an automatic transmission. OTOH I worked in the office machine industry and have worked on everything from the first PCs to mainframe computers.

IMO young people better learn sooner than later that rubbing a smart phone with their thumbs wont help them much in the real world. Either that or they will pay thru the nose to have a real technician fix every thing for them.
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Old 09-10-15, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
I guess what Im pointing out there is a huge difference between todays young, and us old guys. Im 77 still change my own oil do brake jobs, and have even helped reassemble an automatic transmission. OTOH I worked in the office machine industry and have worked on everything from the first PCs to mainframe computers.

IMO young people better learn sooner than later that rubbing a smart phone with their thumbs wont help them much in the real world. Either that or they will pay thru the nose to have a real technician fix every thing for them.
I'm 25 and I also do most auto maintenance myself (oil changes, brakes, suspension, etc) that don't require a lift or air tools as I have neither the space nor the money for those.

Unlike you, I know that not all young people are mindless drones staring into their Stupid phones. And I also know that not all old people are unable to use a computer, DVD player, or cell phone. So I guess some of us are smarter than you

You have a different perspective on this because you're old. I'm amazed at the knowledge my dad has. Sometimes it seems like he knows everything. But as he pointed out, he's had a lifetime of learning experiences to teach him drywall, wood working, auto repair, basic plumbing, etc. Just like how most people don't buy a 10,000 piece tool kit when they first start working on bikes. Usually it is a few tools at a time. But after 30 years you have every tool you could possibly imagine.

Last edited by FastJake; 09-10-15 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 09-10-15, 01:47 PM
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I don't think age has anything to do with it. I know plenty of old folks in my office that wouldn't dream of changing their own oil. And I have "hipster millennial" friends who are doing DIY home restorations that I couldn't begin to imagine doing.
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Old 09-10-15, 01:51 PM
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I fly RC airplanes as a hobby and recently offered to help a newbie repair a wing. He was 19 and didn't know how to use a ruler. He had never used one. Lack of mechanical aptitude is one thing but it appears the public school systems aren't teaching the basics anymore
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Old 09-10-15, 01:51 PM
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I am a recent college grad and am very hands on. I worked my way through college as a auto mechanic and have done countless hours of handyman work, but bikes are new to me. The adjusting and tuning is nothing like a car and I get confused with the simplicity of a bike. But that is just me, I do agree that most of the generation my age has little no no hands on experience.
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Old 09-10-15, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
I didnt get my hands greasy either. I carry shop rags in my trunk pack.

I guess what Im pointing out there is a huge difference between todays young, and us old guys. Im 77 still change my own oil do brake jobs, and have even helped reassemble an automatic transmission. OTOH I worked in the office machine industry and have worked on everything from the first PCs to mainframe computers.

IMO young people better learn sooner than later that rubbing a smart phone with their thumbs wont help them much in the real world. Either that or they will pay thru the nose to have a real technician fix every thing for them.
Comments like this really get to me. Age has nothing to do with it. I have fixed plenty of bikes for older people that should have been painfully obvious. Things like the handlebars spun around and were locking the brakes (where the "repair" is spinning the bars 360deg in the opposite direction) or not being able to figure out how to get a tire off a rim or even put a quick release in correctly. Same goes for younger people. Age here is irrelevant, some people have mechanical aptitude and others do not.
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Old 09-10-15, 01:57 PM
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I blame Beyonce
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Old 09-10-15, 02:01 PM
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Certain kids have an innate curiosity of how things work. I know as a kid, I wanted to always take anything apart to see what made it work. And, hopefully get it back together sometimes.

Others seem to learn to have the "mechanic" do the work for them.
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Old 09-10-15, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by chriskmurray View Post
Comments like this really get to me. Age has nothing to do with it. I have fixed plenty of bikes for older people that should have been painfully obvious. Things like the handlebars spun around and were locking the brakes (where the "repair" is spinning the bars 360deg in the opposite direction) or not being able to figure out how to get a tire off a rim or even put a quick release in correctly. Same goes for younger people. Age here is irrelevant, some people have mechanical aptitude and others do not.
..Old people have always shamed the youth, it's tradition!
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Old 09-10-15, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DBrown9383 View Post
..Old people have always shamed the youth, it's tradition!
True... I guess they forget who is raising the youth
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Old 09-10-15, 02:15 PM
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I've had old people come in the shop with chains off on the inside, same as in the OP, dumbfounded about the situation and amazed when I "fix" it on the spot.

I know young "kids" who hang out at the local makerspace doing all kinds of amazing DIY stuff, including things which mystify me involving 3d modeling/printing, and various electronics projects.
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Old 09-10-15, 02:37 PM
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Human evolution has screened humankind for aptitude in those skills that are useful, while not selecting for those that are not.

This process of natural selection became clear to me when my daughter and her friends were over. During some TV channel flipping, we came upon a prime-time soap opera. They explained the plot line to date, which was more complex than nuclear materials negotiations in the Middle East.

But they had no difficulties in following the Turkish Harem-like deceptions, shifting alliances, intrigues, double-crosses, cover-ups and industrial scale infidelities.

These are the same girls who do not know what way to turn a screwdriver to tighten.
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Old 09-10-15, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
OTOH- now that I've made some excuses, there's the flip side. I too am amazed by the inability of younger people to work out problems by themselves. I'm referring to all sorts of issues, not just mechanical. Maybe those raised before the information age had less support and learned how to live "out in the cold" and cope with situations as they develop, while post internet are used to looking up answers whenever confronted with a problem.
It's not just young people or mechanical problems. I can't count the number of times my mother has called me with computer problems and I have to suggest "Did you try re-booting?" or "Did you google the error message?"
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Old 09-10-15, 02:55 PM
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I think it is a selective knowledge thing, or being intimidated by technology. My 17 year old son is very dexterous on his computer and has designed and built electronic circuits but he is surprisingly inept with screwdrivers and wrenches. That said he has fixed his own dropped chains and flat tires for years, he just doesn't do it with my skill and fluency. We will have to see how his sister (now 12) does with a wrench and a tire lever.
On the flip side the new guy at work is 25, doesn't own any tools and struggles with flat pack furniture.
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