My bike feels like new!

snowbikingMy 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.

bike crank arm

It actually came off!

 

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.

bike bottom bracket

Poor old thing

 

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.

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23 thoughts on “My bike feels like new!

  1. That is what makes someone a teacher, rather than someone who is trying to teach you something. The basic fact is that learn it, you have to get your hands on it. And yes, sometimes you have to be pushed or push yourself past your comfort zone.
    Sounds like you have a great teacher.

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      • Thank you–but the truth is, while it work sometimes, sometimes I feel like I could teach a fish to swim.
        However, this is true with my family. My sister is a whiz at computers, but she has yet to teach my mother how to do anything on the computer. On the home front, my biggest accomplishment was teaching my younger sister how to tie her shoelaces–she is left handed and everyone wrote off the task until I undertook it.
        In the classroom… again, there have been some successes, but today was only a partial one. Hopefully, tomorrow will go well.

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      • One lesson I learned from being homeschooled is that kids don’t need perfect teachers they need teachers who care about them and learn alongside them. Whether you feel if a particular day was successful or not, your students are learning more than you think 😉

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  2. Well done with the bottom bracket! After fifteen years my old bike’s bottom bracket was shot and I gave up trying to remove it (I had never done one before)… it had never been taken out and plastic teeth broke off when I tried with the removal tool… and I couldn’t even try the other side because I couldn’t get that crank off (the tool for that stripped the thread out)… so I gave up and bought a new bike… which reminds me; I really should routinely dismantle these things to help ensure they will come undone when I need them to.

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  3. I’ve been riding bikes for decades and never thought about taking cranks off. And bottom brackets? Fuggetaboudit.
    I replace brakes, tubes, and tires. Everything else goes to the mechanic who can do it far faster and better than I can. He does it everyday. I do it once or twice a year.
    BTW, the reason I do my own brake pad replacements is that I hate squealing brakes. Mechanics rarely test ride the bike to get rid of the squeal.
    Lest you think I am a slacker, I painted the exterior of my house twice. (Then I bought vinyl siding.)

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    • There is one than one way to skin a cat! And if it wasn’t for my dad and the fact that he already has the know-how and proper tools to help me out, I would send my bikes to the shop as well. I am sure your bikes appreciate that they have professionals to look after them 🙂

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