Monday, February 14, 2011

Bike school wrap up

Yesterday was day 2 of bike school. I had a good time day 1 and we left class talking animatedly about how much more comfortable we were in general blah blah blah.. Then came day 2. I was disappointed when on day 2 Jay asked the class if we should work on the road bikes or continue with the mountain bikes. Of course I wanted to work on a road bike because I have one but majority won out, that and we already had the mountain bikes set up. Sadly this means that I can break down a mountain bike but I couldn't tell you how to even unhinge the brakes on my bike. Then again I'll never do brake work on my bike so I think I can live with it but it would have been nice to try it.

Let me give you and idea of my day, here are a few of my tweets:
Brake work sucks
Epic brake work fail, I want to go home to bed now
Installing brake cables is better than installing brakes, I hate brakes
I would not ride a bike that I have worked on, day 2 is horribly confusing

So in case you missed it, brake work SUCKS. We stripped the bike down from brakes to derailleurs and the chain. In a change from the day before, removing this equipment was easier than trying to put the stuff back on. We started with the brake pads and no matter how hard I tried I could not get them to sit still once I had placed them so I could tighten the bolts and then use the torque wrench. I did feel uber cool using the torque wrench by the way. I tried and tried and tried and every single time I went to tighten the bolt the freaking thing shifted. I was feeling even worse because my friend had completed hers so she tried to help out on my side but had an equally bad time of it. On closer inspection the pad on her side it was also cockeyed. The more frustrating part is that they weren't that much off but when you are talking brake pads and wheel rims even 2mm is bad. 

We moved onto the brake cables which you can see from my tweets was much much easier. Then to the derailleurs. This is where once again I confused my right from my left because we are talking gears and low and high and high and low up and up and down and righty tighty and lefty loosy not to mention the tension, oh the tension. This part confused me. I understood the high/low "concept" on the derailleurs but got lost trying to make the adjustments. Thankfully Jay came by to walk us through completing this task after I loudly admitted defeat.. Ok, I may have screamed 'oh my god what the hell have we done!!!'.. Ok I didn't.. You really thought I did though didn't you, it would have been completely believable right. Anyway it turns out it wasn't nearly as off as we had thought and we were able to finish our task. Before we knew it we had spent and entire day, 7 full hours stripping the bike down and putting it back together. 

The bike school wrap up.

The course was great, 2 days and I’m way more comfortable about my bike in general. I was feeling as if it were a very fragile thing and while you need to be careful when pulling stuff off and putting it back on I won't be afraid to take the chain off and change the back tire, or muck around with the cassette (sp?) or any of those things. If something goes wrong while I am riding I will be able to diagnose things, or some things anyway and I will be comfortable that I know enough to continue riding or call for help, I am well aware of my limitations. I also now know what most of those tools that John got me are for. THAT was was totally fun, coming home to check it out and saying 'oh THAT is what that's for'. 

The book they give you had loads of good information and while I didn't read every page and we didn't use it a lot in the course there is helpful information in there. I even know how to look for and read torque specs, woot. I think just like saying 'torque'. Jay was a fantastic teacher, very patient and extremely knowledgeable. The set up of the class was excellent as well, there was theory and a demonstration and then we would practice hands on our bikes in groups of two. It often felt a bit overwhelming during the demo part but when we did the work ourselves it was easier than expected. Rick (the less tall dude) was helpful during execution, coming by to check on us and give us a hard time. He is going to India to do a ride there for a month!! If you have any interest in taking a course I would highly recommend this one. They also offer other courses, there is a pro course and a course where you build your own bike from the ground up. I actually thought that might be cool UNTIL we started doing brakework and I decided forget that. I'd also need to learn more about my right and left before trying that out. 

If my dream job was to be a bike mechanic my dreams would have died this weekend but thankfully I only dreamed I'd know what torque means so no loss.

Today is Valentines Day and as luck would have it I get to see my awesome,  funny and extra handsome very good friend Mike tonight so Happy Valentines Day to you AND to me!!


Big Daddy Diesel said...

At least you had fun, and now can talk "shop" with the boys and show off what you learned

Anonymous said...

Great wrap up post. Even though there were frustrations (hello, brakes, I'm looking at you), I learned a lot, am much more comfortable around a bike, and had fun to boot. I'm glad you were my bike mechanic partner in crime for this course!


Bryan Payne said...

A, GREAT post, you've convinced me I NEVER want to take a bike course. Sounds like way to much work, they should have paid you to attend. haha