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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Teaching bike maintenance to women

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    Memorial Day weekend I attended the Women Outdoors Annual Gathering. This is a group that I'm a member of, they do various outdoor recreational and stewardship events, and their annual Gathering in New England is always fun. They ask women coming to teach a workshop and share some of their skills with others. In the past I've taught workshops on knot typing and making your own backpacking stove. This year I decided to teach bicycle maintenance, and it worked out really well. 10 women attended the 2.5 hour workshop and really appreciated what they learned. The best comment I heard was: "I've always been reluctant to pay the bike shop what they ask for a tune-up, remembering my childhood single-speed and how simple it was. Now I know that bikes are complicated and what the bike shop charges is worth it."

    Here's what I taught them: how to check their bearings (hubs, bottom bracket, headset) for proper adjustment; how to check for chain wear; how to clean the chain and other drive train components; how to lube chains, derailleur pivots, and brake pivots; how to center brakes; and how to change a flat and find its cause. Every participant got a tire boot (piece of old sewup) to take home. I had time to do minor repairs on a few bikes: trued one wheel, adjusted one bike's gears, found a bent axle on one bike, and recommended a new rear derailleur on another. It felt really good to have women who were eager to soak up what I had to share from my years as a bike mechanic. Some of them will be able to do a few more of their own repairs, and all now know more about keeping their bike in well-maintained condition, and when the bike really needs to go to the shop.
    Oil is good, grease is better.

    2007 Peter Mooney w/S&S couplers/Terry Butterfly
    1993 Bridgestone MB-3/Avocet O2 Air 40W
    1980 Columbus Frame with 1970 Campy parts
    1954 Raleigh 3-speed/Brooks B72

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    What a great thing to do! I'm sure they all feel more confident now -- whether doing their own repairs or dealing with the bike shop -- the more you know, the better!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    That was indeed a great thing to do! More knowledge is always good!



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