26 October 2008

Like getting my hair cut

It's one of those things - you know it's going to happen, but you are too busy, so you put it off until an event triggers the inevitable.

Let's face it: I am not very good at maintaining my bike. I clean it every now and then - far less often than I really should. I lubricate what is visible, but the invisible stuff I just daren't tamper with. And twice a year I take it to be serviced, placing it in the hands of competent bike mechanics in the hope they'll be able to undo months of neglect.

Well, next week I shall be doing just that. Yesterday as I hurried home to prepare for the weekend (it's half-term this week, we are visiting my father-in-law) I noticed my wheel has buckled a bit - it is wobbling and needs attention. Just over a year ago I was having to get the wheel trued as spokes kept breaking. A new wheel put that right and I hadn't had any trouble... until now. It cost me 50% of the original bike value (it's a cheap one).

Then, back in April this year, as I prepared for the Coast to Coast, the service had to include a complete replacement of the chain, chainrings, cassette, the works. It cost me as much as I'd paid for the original bike - and it really felt like new.

Anyway, this wednesday I shall be making my way to the shop again, getting the bike ready for the winter.


David Hembrow said...

Have you tried trying your wheels yourself ? It's really not that difficult. Of course, you have to want to. If you don't, ignore the rest of what follows.

Just do up spokes a little on the side that needs to be pulled and undo the matching spoke pulling the other way by the same amount. Spread this across a few spokes either side of where you think it's not straight. Always do up the spokes a bit more than you want and back off again (a quarter turn is enough), and do pay attention to stress relieving (though your wheels have probably done this already by now).

Sheldon Brown goes into detail about wheel building including truing the wheels.

coco said...

David, thank you. Practical advice like yours is always appreciated. I fear I'm in a vicious circle: little time means no room for mistakes, no mistakes mean no learning, etc. I have been thinking of doing a couple of courses I've seen advertised - again, time, time.