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Re-New, Re-Cycle, Re-Use

AnnieD posted last week that she’d given up on her old bike. She described these sympoms in her post where she admitted she’d decided already to buy new.

AnnieD said 6 days, 14 hours ago:
But my current bike is starting to suffer from the winter cycling: the chain is making various unhealthy sounds (though lube might be all it really needs), the rim brakes regularly fail, something about the wires freezing and/or some of the non-wire bits getting jammed (interested in disc brakes versus coaster brakes), and at least twice/year my gears refuse to change to the highest level (I usually ride in 3-5 but now have to ride is 2-7 since ”3” the gears won’t change to ”3” anymore) – tempted to switch to single gear.

I’m against new.

So, although the issue was settled and the new bike from Urbane is in the works, I thought, the old bike still needs a home, and by the sounds of it – a tune-up.

So I wrote this how-to over at Biking Toronto Group “Bikes and bike gear” and decided it was so good I should post it here in my Biking Toronto Blog and maybe my own FilterBlogs blog as well!

michael holloway said 16 minutes ago:
So I take it a new bike is the solution.

A new bike if not tuned up at least once a year will develope the same problems (Jamming brakes and gear shifters).

Bikes don’t like the winter, because all their vital moving parts (except the wheel and crank case bearings) are exposed to the elements. Water with salt, freeze/thaw and mud and rinse takes all the lube off in short order. When couriering – in the winter months – I had to tune-up my bike once a week (if there was snow).

(That’s ten hours a day, five days a week through ALL weather.)

What happens is, the grease in your brake and gear cables not only lubes the cable – so it slides easily, but it also repels water. If water gets in your cables it finds the lowest point and sits there, and in the winter freezes and/or rusts the cable to the cable housing.

Suprise! One morning, flying along – no breaks!

The cables for brakes and gear derailers need to be disconnected, pulled out, cleaned, checked for rust spots, replaced if necessary, greased and re-assembled and re-calebrated. It’s not easy, it takes technique, but after you’ve done it twice – it’s like riding a bike. :)

You need a pair of needle nosed plyers with side cutters, a multi-head screwdriver and two of cresent wrenches. (I find a pair of vice-grips always comes in handy, but don;t tell a mechanic I said that.)

Most riders can get away with one tune-up a year, but if your riding all winter, definatly do your tune-up in the fall. Come spring you’ll probably feel like it needs to be done again.

You can maintain your cables between tune-ups by loosening the cables (there are several spots on most bikes where you can reduce the tension with out disconnecting), and then dripping a fine oil between the cablehouseing and the cable. Do this one drop at a time, letting gravity take the oil down into the cable, and repeat…

Michael Holloway



Posted: March 12th, 2010
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