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The Learning Continuum - aka Where you at?

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The Learning Continuum - aka Where you at?

Old 10-20-12, 07:03 PM
  #1  
clawhammer72
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The Learning Continuum - aka Where you at?

Today I changed my brake and derailleur cables/housings for the first time, and I feel great.

I know this is chump change for so many on this forum, and others would leave this task for the LBS. Thanks to all the members on this forum that do their own work, and share their experiences; it's this kind of thing that gave me the courage, or maybe shamed me into, finally taking on this basic maintenance skill. Even though it took me all day, now I feel a lot more in control of my bike and what I can do to keep it working right.

So, I'm interested in where others are on the learning curve (maybe mechanical, or maybe some other aspect of the commuting life). What is that next big thing you want to accomplish?
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Old 10-20-12, 11:09 PM
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Bluish Green
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Congratulations, good job! You are ahead of me, I am a few months in and still getting the basics down. I am competent on changing tubes, adjusting brakes and brake & shifter cables, and greasing the shaft drive (I have a chainless bike).

Right now, I am learning what combinations of clothing layers to use for different autumn temperatures, wind speeds, and precipitation. I also have a pair of studded tires that I will learn to install and ride once there is ice in the forecast.

My best commuting accomplishments so far are things that make my commute systematic and dependable. I work best with systems and organization, that is just my way. Figuring out the right bags for my rear rack (waterproof Ortlieb panniers), getting in a regular pattern of packing work clothes and checking air pressure the night before, having a system for recharging the AA and AAA batteries for my lights and guaranteeing they never go dead on me, etc. Keeping organized without hauling my day planner organizer has been a challenge, of all things.

We sold our second car on Oct 1, so I am now "car light".

My next mechanical goal is to understand wheel work - spoke tension and such. I had my rear wheel rebuilt a couple of months ago because I was popping spokes, and although it is going great, I want to know more and be able to monitor it and maintain it.

It feels good to do my own maintenance work. Someday I hope to be as proficient as the old-timers around this Forum that have been so helpful to me.
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Old 10-20-12, 11:50 PM
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I've done everything but build wheels from scratch. So that's next.
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Old 10-21-12, 03:02 AM
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Over the years, I.ve learned to do everything in terms of mechanics and repair, i even learned how to TIG weld at the community college indulging a frame building fantasy.

that being said, i do not do everything. Wheelbuilding, for example, is something I've not found to be economical in terms of price and time to do. All of my efforts to date have proven I am a poor wheelbuilder also!

So on the continuum, I'm in the moment of needing to ride more, and remembering and reemploying my more arcane and personal knowledge acquired at other points of time in my cycling life.
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Old 10-21-12, 08:23 AM
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I'm pretty self-sufficient. The only things I go to the LBS for are things where the cost of the tool combined with the infrequency of need make it impractical to do it myself, like bottom bracket facing. I've built several sets of wheels, with enough success that I've been confident using them for CX racing. The next challenge for me is frame building. I just need the time off and money to take a class for that one.
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Old 10-21-12, 11:08 AM
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I'm at the point where many people think I'm an expert.

I know better.

Every day, sumpin' new…
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Old 10-21-12, 11:10 AM
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i have hydraulic brakes ... which i've never had on a bike before. that should be interesting to work on.
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Old 10-21-12, 11:13 AM
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I worked in bike shops for a few years (when I was in college) and I've continued to work on bikes through the centuries since then, so I've done everything but weld and braze. I build my own wheels.

My big challenge is to cycle to work most days. I only do it occasionally. It's 11.5 miles and pretty hilly. Inertia and bad time management are the primary reasons I don't do it more often.

Oh, and I hope we get some snow or ice on the ground, because I'd like to try riding on them with knobby tires. We generally don't get that much snow here. When we get it, it's usually plowed away quickly.
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Old 10-21-12, 02:18 PM
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Decided to take food for everyone on this mornings ride. A jug of apple cider, plastic glasses, a dozen muffins and 2 dozen cookies and 6 apples. I took my road bike that has no saddle bags so I put them in a back pack.

5 miles in I realized how much I HATE WEARING BACKPACKS ON RIDES. 35 miles later, my back hurt like he11.
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Old 10-21-12, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Bluish Green View Post
Congratulations, good job! You are ahead of me, I am a few months in and still getting the basics down. I am competent on changing tubes, adjusting brakes and brake & shifter cables, and greasing the shaft drive (I have a chainless bike).

Right now, I am learning what combinations of clothing layers to use for different autumn temperatures, wind speeds, and precipitation. I also have a pair of studded tires that I will learn to install and ride once there is ice in the forecast.

My best commuting accomplishments so far are things that make my commute systematic and dependable. I work best with systems and organization, that is just my way. Figuring out the right bags for my rear rack (waterproof Ortlieb panniers), getting in a regular pattern of packing work clothes and checking air pressure the night before, having a system for recharging the AA and AAA batteries for my lights and guaranteeing they never go dead on me, etc. Keeping organized without hauling my day planner organizer has been a challenge, of all things.

We sold our second car on Oct 1, so I am now "car light".

My next mechanical goal is to understand wheel work - spoke tension and such. I had my rear wheel rebuilt a couple of months ago because I was popping spokes, and although it is going great, I want to know more and be able to monitor it and maintain it.

It feels good to do my own maintenance work. Someday I hope to be as proficient as the old-timers around this Forum that have been so helpful to me.
You said a lot of great things in this post! I agree with you on systems and organization. If prep is done the night before, then no thought is needed early in the morning before leaving!
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Old 10-21-12, 03:40 PM
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Let me add my congrats to the OP!

Being able to do these things gives one a feeling of accomplishment. For that matter, these are musts for anyone who wishes to be a competent, self-sufficient bicyclist. And it's a good, good feeling to regard yourself as such.

A suggestion; practice your derrailleur adjustment. So that you don't undershoot or overshoot. That's one more skill that's needed.

I'm the type who can do these things. I can change out a one-piece crank without even thinking about it. I don't do 3 piece cranks, though. I'll leave that for the LBS.

I've never built a wheel from scratch. I can straighten one out a bit, though. I've never gotten one mathematically perfect. But it's not hard to get one straight enough that it at least doesn't rub your brake pads.
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Old 10-21-12, 03:47 PM
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I build my own wheels and do all other maintenance. I like to be self-sufficient.
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