(Note: This is the third installment in the four part “Back on the Bike” series. The full set of articles can be found HERE.)
Fun fact: If you ride over wet leaves and attempt to turn quickly, you will fall and crash. Fun fact two: When trying to fix spokes on a tire, the size of a wrench you need will correspond to a color. For example, I needed a red wrench to fix Penelope.
I was taken down by a pile of leaves. I tried to turn and ended up biting the dust. It was a slow motion fall that had it been caught on camera, I am quite confident I could win some sort of prize. But now, because of that, I am more careful and pay more attention. Once you have taken handlebars to the ribs, you tend to do whatever you can to avoid that situation again.
Just a reminder: always wear a helmet, and in my case, shin guards, mouthpiece and elbow pads.
In addition to getting the spokes fixed, I have also had to replace the leather straps on my pedals with shoe laces. Penelope looks like she has been through the ringer, but she still rolls on. Fun fact three: If your tire wobbles and you cannot figure out why, check the spokes.
I try to fix what I can on my own, but I am not trying to be a hero. If something goes wrong or I can tell she isn’t riding right, I get a second opinion. The last thing I want is to be flying down a hill and the back tire fall off. Need a tire pumped up? I’m all over that. But when wheels start to wobble, that’s where I draw the line.
There are two different ways you can go about getting your bike fixed. You can take it to a local bike shop. In my experience, they are super friendly and more than willing to explain what they are doing. This is the perfect place if you want to learn a little about bikes, but mainly just want to get your bike fixed so you can ride it.
The other option is a place like The Third Hand Bicycle Co-op, a place where the focus is more on learning to do things yourself. It is usually cheaper than the bike shops, but it might take a couple tries before you figure out what is wrong and how to fix it. Third Hand is located 979 East Fifth Avenue. They offer different programs that are designed to appeal to all levels of riders. Co-ops are also a great place to connect with other cyclists, plan group rides and share stories. Check out their website to see when programs are held.
Photos by Blythe Malone.