3 Tips to Becoming Your Own Mechanic

Riding bicycles can get expensive. If you ride a lot, parts get worn out, break, or become outdated. While I love shooting the shit with my local mechanics, picking through their wealth of knowledge and poaching their shop beers, I don't so much like the bill handed over to me each time I show up to retrieve my two wheeled savior. There's no question most bike wrenches possess wizard like fixing skills that I can only dream of. I value that skill set, but my wallet thinks differently.

Here are 3 steps to becoming your own bicycle mechanic:

1. GOOGLE and YOUTUBE are your best friends. No big deal since most new friends these days are digital and made of pixels. The amount of information readily available is incredible. Chances are you aren't the first person to tackle a specific problem or mechanical and the internet is a great place to go for tips and advice. In many cases, you can find step by step instructions, from very qualified sources, to walk you through most repairs. Google and Google, then Youtube and Youtube some more, until you find what you are looking for.

2. Up your patience. My patience are shit. I got none. Torque vs Allen, bolt tension, righty tighty/lefty loosey. So much can go wrong. When it does, breathe, chug a beer, take 10mg of THC and don't force it. This is usually where I turn my minor problem into a major problem by taking the issue one step further out of frustration. Work slowly and start over if needed. So many times I make the problem worse than it was, or end up damaging a part that wasn't broken in the first place. Work slow, drink slow, burn slow. Restart if needed.

3. Whiskey. Once Google, Youtube and your patience all fail and you realize you need the local mechanic to finish the job, you will need the hard stuff.

Now, drumroll please, two of the most innovative products that I've come across in the past few years, both hail from Topeak.

1. The Ratchet Rocket: How many times have you had your multi- tool seize up, the allen keys rust together and it takes herculean strength to separate them. This has happened to every tool I've purchased recently and I'm over it, I've moved on to this. While it's a tiny bit heavier, the ease of use and wide assortment of keys and tools is well worth it.

2. Joe Blow Booster: I don't have a shop compressor, so whenever I need to seat some new tires I would take them to a bike shop, or buy a bunch of CO2. Both of these methods are time consuming, expensive and frustrating. Last week I was over it and the mess, so I picked up the Booster. Talk about making my life easier. More time for beer drinking! I can now seat two tires in about 5 minutes. And I can do this anywhere, not the case if you rely on a compressor. Works every time. This product may be the most innovative product in the last 15 years, second only to the dropper post. Get one.

After fighting through a nuclear heat wave to start last week, the temps cooled for the weekend and I even got numb hands on a decent back to town. I'll take that any day of the week. Every summer it gets hotter here with more and more days in the mid 90s. It's kind of the norm. That's one reason I need to get the fuck out of the Front Range. Here are some rides from last week: STRAVA

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