When we first started riding, we were advised to learn the basics of bike maintenance and repair. But, if you’re like us, we prefer to leave anything technical in nature to the specialists and, until recently, always took our bikes into the local bicycle shop to get them repaired when anything went wrong. But, five years into riding and we realised that our more experienced peers were right. There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling you can’t even replace your brake blocks because you don’t know how to.
“ There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling you can’t even replace your brake blocks because you don’t know how to”
Over the years, the Park Tool’s Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair (now in its Second Edition) has been recommended to us time and time again, by experienced Triathletes and Cyclists, as the book to get when it comes to showing you how to maintain & repair your bike. Last month, we decided to buy a copy and even for technical novices like ourselves it’s easy to understand, with each repair or maintenance project broken down into easy-to-follow steps, with colour photographs showing you what to do.
Today, we used the book for the first time and within an hour had taken off and cleaned our caliper brakes – front and back – (something we would never have tried on our own before buying the book), cleaned & lubed the brake cables and replaced the brake blocks. We then went out on a 25 mile ride, and the brakes have never been sharper!
Somehow, knowing that you can maintain and fix even just the basics on your bike is strangely comforting. To know how to fix a chain when it breaks or work out why your bike makes a funny sound when you pedal will mean that you won’t have to rely on your local bike shop every time a niggle arises – and the more you ride, the more the niggles. We’ll probably still leave the bigger jobs to the professionals but we’ll certainly be getting out our Big Blue Book for the smaller ones and general maintenance.
As we were told, be brave, give it a go! You never know, you might even start to take pride in maintaining and fixing your trusty steed yourself.
Pros: Easy to understand steps with clear example ‘how to’ colour photographs.
Cons: Until we made sure we got the exact title of the book, it was difficult to find the book online to buy.