Wrenching 101

I still don’t believe I am really into bikes. I’m not nerding out or do I think I am a bike snob, (despite the fact I secretly judge people by what kind of bike they ride). Last week when a date told me he owned a hybrid, I am pretty sure I rolled my eyes. 

My class is composed of 20 students, 3 women including me. The majority of us are not local, and the majority are 40+ years old. Seated to my right, is an officer who patrols the Golden Gate Bridge. He works preventing suicide attempts on the bridge for over 15 years. He sometimes bikes 9-5 back and forth across the bridge; the other days he is in the office. To my left, is a counselor from San Diego who works with female prisoners leaving the facility and the deaf population. He wants to start a bike inmate program. Other people in the class, two officers from CT, who were sent to the class because they will be managing their fleet of patrol bikes. One guy, like me, rode across America, on the Trans Am route and is taking a short break in Portland while his wife is taking a week long yoga class. Interesting, like minded people.  Mostly this program is geared toward the bike enthusaist.  The professional course with certification is two weeks.  

The instructors are fantastic, patient and very knowledgable. I’ve already been corrected on many things that I thought I knew how to do but have been doing incorrectly, like properly lubing a chain, patching a tube or changing a flat without using levers. I’ve learned many new things too. This week, we will learn how to take apart and put together the entire bike.  

Day 1 – wheels, hubs, tires, tubes

Day 2 – pedals, cranksets, bottom brackets, gear ratios, (demo on bleeding hydraulic disc brakes)

Day 3 – derailleurs

Day 4 – rim brakes, disc brakes

Day 5 – headsets, handlebars, stems

It’s a lot of information in two days and I’m not sure I am ready to practice on my own but it is really fun to learn and play.  I feel more confident in identifying tools and knowing how to use them properly.  I am looking forward to buying my touring bike in the fall and building it up from the box myself.  

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