My bottom bracket had been showing signs of premature aging (pedals aren’t meant to wiggle, right?) so last week I went up to my parent’s house to put in a new one. My dad was still at work but he told me to go ahead and take the cranks off.
“But I don’t think I can take them off by myself, I don’t remember how!” I sputtered.
He reassured me that I was quite capable of taking them off without him. So I dug around in the toolbox and found what I thought were the right tools and timidly set to work. But these cranks didn’t take my gentle suggestions very kindly. I had to unscrew those bolt using all of the strength I could muster, hoping that I was unscrewing them properly.
It took me a lot of huffing and puffing but eventually I was triumphant and both crank arms came off. I felt ridiculously proud of my accomplishment; my dad had been right after all.
Having a dad who is always willing to coach me through bike repairs is the best things a non-mechanically minded cyclist could ask for. He has a knack for pushing me beyond the limits of what I think I can do but also being there to help out with the stuff I can’t do yet.
And one thing that I quickly discovered that I couldn’t do on my own was to take out the bottom bracket. Even after my dad made it home the bottom bracket didn’t want to come out. But eventually, after working on it for a good thirty minutes, maybe even closer to forty five minutes, we were able to get it loose. (I say we, but really my dad did all the muscle work while I held the bike still.) Then I cleaned up inside the frame and we put the brand-new shiny bracket in. Don’t worry, thanks to salt, I am sure it won’t be shiny for long.
I also got new brake pads, which I installed today despite a strict warning on the package that said…
“Fitting and adjustment should be undertaken by a qualified mechanic.”
Slowly, ever so slowly, I am getting comfortable with working on my bike. I am starting to understand how different parts work and much to my surprise, actually enjoying the process. I can’t thank my dad enough for giving me a helping hand.