The Summer Games consist of 10 events that will hopefully help push me out of my bicycle comfort zone. Once I complete at least 4 out of the 10 events, I'll be entered to win really amazing prizes. (I'm in love with the Classic Porter Crate and the panniers!)
This is the perfect challenge for me. As someone who hadn't been on a bike since I was a preteen, pretty much everything about bikes is new to me, from shifting gears to using hand brakes. And despite some fears I'm still trying to get over, I am hooked. I love everything about riding a bike and can't wait to learn more, so this challenge is the perfect place to start!
Event #1 - Perform a Maintenance Task on My Bike
Until this past weekend, the only "maintenance" I had even done on my bike was to wipe it off with a damp rag. My mom's husband is the bike expert in our family, and has taken care of any work any of our bikes required. I asked him to let me help him with any future task, and he happily agreed to teach me. But first, let me introduce you to my bike.
Meet Miss Dorothy. She's a Globe and incredibly comfortable for both long and short rides. I love her! The name Dorothy means gift from God, and this bike really is! But that's a story for another day. Now, onto bike maintenance!
Since my mom's husband keeps our bikes super maintained, the only thing that needed to be done was to air up the tires. But since that's something I've never done before, I figured it counts as bike maintenance for me.
Once while filling up my car at a gas station, I watched a man attempt to air up the tires on his daughter's bike using an air pump intended for car tires. He hooked it up, then proceeded to let it go while talking on his phone inside of his car. It wasn't until the extremely loud pop of the tire exploding (that made me duck fearing gunfire), that he realized that using a pump for a car tire probably wasn't a good idea. Nor was not paying attention. The point of this seemingly random story is that these pictures were all taken after we actually pumped up the tires. I tend to get distracted while taking pictures, and I wanted to focus on actually learning. And I didn't want to literally blow up my tires.
The first step was to check what pressure the tire required. The recommended pressure is stamped right on the outside of the tire, so there's no guesswork.
We used this little blue pump, which is really convenient. Not only can it be plugged into a car or a regular outlet, but a pressure gauge is right on top.
After attaching the pump to the valve stem, it was so easy to watch the pressure slowly and steadily rise. Once it got to the pressure recommended on the tire, I turned it off, recapped the valve, and was ready to go. It was an easy and fast process, something that is not only necessary for safety, but for a smooth and comfortable ride.
It was great to learn how to do this! Now I don't have to rely on anyone else to air up my tires and I can finally say that I know something about maintaining my bike! I never thought I would enjoy doing work on my bike, but now, strange as it may seem, I kind of have my fingers crossed that a tube will need replacing or my chain will need work. I can't wait to keep learning!
Stay tuned for more of the LGRAB 2011 Summer Games!