Here’s my daughter Becky at work on our friend’s bike; it’s all about learning to be a little more self reliant, enterprising, entrepreneurial and something about learning how bikes work. It is all leading towards her earning money towards a school trip in 2013 and taking some responsibility towards it. So, we’re letting our friends know what we’re up to.
So far we’ve washed a few cars, sold some snacks to other kids at her dancing class and now we’re repairing and tuning up bikes. I love it – seeing her getting to grips with how bikes work and fit together. Today was all about getting a stiff rear brake working and before we tuned a bike up for one of her teachers.
These bikes, by the way, were almost identical and involved a certain amount of weight lifting – yes weight lifting – as I always hang my bikes from the garage roof in order to work on them (we’re too mean to buy a proper bike stand). These bikes weren’t far short of 40lbs and all good experience, along with strength building exercise for me. Fixing the brake on this was straight forward: we replaced the galvanised brake cable and coiled outer for something much smoother to good effect. We used one of those smooth stainless steel cables with a lined outer. We also loosened the V brakes off from the mounting bosses on the frame so we could lubricate them. Adjusting the springs so the brakes pulled evenly was easy to do and while we were at it we couldn’t resist dealing with one or two other things which we’d spotted. All good fun and, dare we say, fantastic value for money.
That works both ways. Becky earns a little pocket money, I teach her how to fix bikes; what a great deal. Mind you, I learnt something too. These rear Shimano gears, although fairly modest in the range, work in an opposite way to normal. By this I mean the cable pulls the chain onto the smaller sprockets, not the other way around. That seems a bit of neat problem solving on Shimano’s part as it would be a challenge for any rear deurallier in pulling the chain up onto that large sprocket – you can see its a huge jump up to the 34t sprocket but this appears to work alright.
With the bike duly tuned up there was a good satisfying feeling. Two mugs of tea and a lesson completed in replacing a brake cable and getting V -brakes working alright. So thanks Tom for letting us fix your bike. One last thing, Becky’s invoice referred to me as her “assistant”. Not so sure about that but I guess it’s better than being a glamorous assistant!