When I first arrived at Surly, I worked on bikes. More than a few of the people I work with, and quite a bit less than most of them. When I took one of my first trips for Surly I traveled with Sov (that’s Skip to some), and while he and I were riding around Charlotte, I had a crank arm come off.
“Who’s your mechanic?” he bellowed at me, laughing. “Who’s your mechanic?” I guess it’s what you say. I don’t say it to people, cuz that would be weird, because, I
am not a mechanic. I like to tinker with toasters, washing machines and my bike. I’ve built up many bikes from the ground up. I’ve helped friends who had issues with their bikes (so far without any major accidents) and I work on my own. But that (by no means at all) makes me a qualified mechanic (of bikes or anything else).
I know that a bike doesn’t seem too complicated to many people out there, and they (I) feel confident working on their bikes. But, that doesn’t make them a mechanic. If you’re like me, and I know there are many of you out there, then you should consider taking your bike to a “real” mechanic every once and a while. Let them check up on your work. Let them teach you some things you don’t know. Put up with any sort of ribbing or condescension, because it’s playful and in the long run, you might learn some things. I love to learn, I just hate people knowing that I don’t know things.
Personally I like people to think that I’m a super hero who can do anything and that I never need any help. I’ve taken all kinds of things apart and put them back together (without any extra parts, and with them working pretty damn well). YouTube is an awesome tool for that (from bikes to whatever), but it doesn’t make up for someone who has really learned all the ins and the outs. So take your bike to a mechanic now and then. If you know one, they’ll probably take a peek for a six pack (sometimes of really cheap beer).
If you do that, you can avoid some potentially dangerous situations, and also avoid doing some very costly damage to your ride. That could mean days or even weeks without your bike.
I know I don’t want to be without mine even for a day.
Whilst I am atop my high horse, I’m going to switch gears and remind all of you to write down the serial number that is on the BB shell of your frame. That way if (Odin forbid) your bike get’s stolen you’ll have the number to give to the police, or whatever mercenary you hire to track your bike down. I know there are lots of shops that will keep that sort of information for you, but I can’t think of a single good reason why you shouldn’t have it yourself. Shops loose things too, just like me (and I assume you). Your best bet is to have the number somewhere safe (or even in multiple places, incase you’re like me and your short term memory has some glitchy spots). I hate the phrase common sense, but really that’s what this is.
I’m not sure what’s got safety and common sense on my mind today, maybe it’s because I tore the rear derailleur off my bike on my ride in this morning, who knows. Guess I should have had someone take a look at it for me.
Now I know what I’m doing tomorrow.
As for you go ride!