Empowering women in cycling

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Bicycle Suspension Service

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As more and more folks are realizing the benefit of a well set up full suspension you see less hardtails on the trail and more full squish. What I see a lot in the shop is people completely ignoring their suspension until it is to the point of needing a costly replacement. Remember the happier your bike is the better it will ride.

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Bicycle Storage Idea

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A reader sent photos of her $10 bike storage concept utilizing closest rod brackets x 2 per bike.  A great idea and simple to do, but make sure you are screwing into a wall stud!

Bicycle Storage

SRAM Force Brakes, Breaking?

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It seems that there are still batches of SRAM Force recalled brakes out there.  Cozy Beehive recalls a recent story of a mechanic installing SRAM Force brakes to a customers bike and they broke under his touch.

Before you buy any SRAM Force brakesets, for your sake, go check the date stamp on the brake.  If your brake is within the date range below, SRAM will replace the brakes under warranty.

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Video : Unboxing the Raleigh Clubman

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We recently took delivery of a 2010 Raleigh Clubman. In this 6 minute clip we go through the basics of unboxing a bicycle. A full review will be available on http://www.CommuteByBike.com soon.

A walk through building a bicycle up from the boxed form.  This is how most bikes show up to a bike shop, except for those boutique, build from scratch variety.   We skim through some sections in order to get you through the whole unboxing, which normally takes 45 minutes to an hour.

Unboxing

Tools

The basic tools are used were :

Park Tool Allen Wrench Set

Feedback Sports – Sport Repair Stand

Park Tool Cable Cutter

Photos of the Build Day

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @BikeShopGirlcom

Top 5 Online Resources for Women

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When I created Bike Shop Girl a few months back it was mainly out of frustration for the lack of information that is readily available for women.   The basics are out there, but you have to be a Google Jedi Master to find the right answers, and often you are left with half-assed ones that only confuse you more.  My goal for this site has always been to be a resource, and maybe a place I have a rant or two but that isn’t the point.

Though limited, here are some of my favorite online resources.  Some of these resources are targeted towards women, others are targeted towards cyclist in general but have great knowledge within their .com walls.

Forums

  • Team Estrogen – A full range of forums for women.  The forums aren’t very strict so often guys will be able to search/post if they need.  Keep private information just that, private.
  • Bike Forums - The moderators will keep tabs on you, and after a few months of them knowing you are “female” they will allow you in their private “women only” section of the site.  This is my used forum online for resources, I used to post often but now use it mainly for its search function.
  • RideMonkey - A mountain bike oriented forum and online community.  This is another forum that you’ll have to request to become part of their “women only” section.

How To Advice

  • Blue Collar MTB – One of the original sites I wrote for online.  It is no longer active, but a great resource for how to do things on the cheap.  Long term if there is interest in this type of maintenance I maybe persuaded to start writing for it again.
  • Park Tool - The leader in bike specific tools, this company also has invested in teaching others.  Check out their how to’s broken down by bike part.

Your Turn

What sites do you frequent or recommend?  Turn us on to other blogs or sites that have helped you become a stronger cyclist.  Better yet, how can Bike Shop Girl become a better resource for you

How to : Weekly Safety Check

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We’ve hit upon the preventative maintenance and how to lube your chain so now is a weekly safety check that all riders should know how to do.

A Safe, Clean, Bike

A Safe, Clean, Bike

Wipe frame and wheels down : This is a pretty important step to make sure structurally your frame and wheels aren’t developing any cracks or chips in the paint or metal.  I use a watered down Simple Green in a spray bottle to do this.

Clean in tight areas : Make sure to wipe down in tight areas, between pivot points or where your cables may wear.  Built up dirt can actually wear into your frame.

Pivot Bolts

Pivot Bolts

Tighten pivot bolts : This applies to mostly full suspension bikes but any part of your bike that moves, like the full suspension linkage, needs to be checked more often.

Check over all bolts : This is pretty self explanatory. My biggest word of advice is to not OVER tighten the bolts.

Go through shifting and braking : Make sure the brakes hit the wheels or rotor evenly and there isn’t any excessively odd wear on the brake pads. The shifting should be crisp and not over shift any cogs or chain rings.

This process, though sounding lengthy, can take only about 5 minutes once you get the hang of it and also if your bike isn’t so dirty.  Soon I’ll go over the proper way to clean off that mucky bike but you are well on your way of a happy bike that will live a long life as your taking good care of it.

What is a Scrader Valve or Presta Valve?

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When you ride a bicycle it will come to a point that you’ll need to inflate your tires.  Soon, I’ll be going over how to change a flat, different types of pumps and what makes a tire tubeless, tubular or standard.  For today we will be starting very basic and figuring out which valve you have and why you need to know.

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

A schrader valve is the commonly used valve in the U.S for automotive tires and most bikes under $1,000.  The valve has a spring inside of it that opens and closes the valve core.  The valve core is what keeps air from leaking out of your tire.   On a schrader valve it is very important to have a valve cap (plastic top) to cover the valve to keep dirt out, if not the valve could stay open or jam shut.Schrader Valve GIFA presta valve is found on higher pressure bicycle tires or higher end wheels.  This valve is much smaller in diameter and has a top nut that controls the valve core.  You need to screw open this nut to let air into and then screw close to shut off the valve.  Due to the fact the valve does not use a spring to control the valve core it is able to hold higher pressure in the tubes, leak less and also not need a valve cap.

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

Depending on your application both valves work great and are easy to use.  The presta valve involves a softer touch to open and close that valve so you don’t damage the valve core but I have faith in you!   We will go over pumping up the tires more in depth next week.

A video on differences between valves with Carlton Reid

Valve Stem’s on Wikipedia