One Last Idea: Give the Gift of Wrenching

Remember when you were 9 and you just ran outside, jumped on your sweet BMX with mag wheels, and started riding?  No fussing or clacking duck-shoes or beeping computers.

And when you were done, you just parked the little beauty somewhere and ran inside to eat macaroni and cheese.

Rinse and repeat.

Unfortunately, riding big-kid bikes over long distances requires a little more maintenance.  Chains demand lube and expensive components last longer when they’re kept clean.  Racing cyclocross makes it even worse because the mud, dust, and sand wreak havoc on everything. Varying courses demand different tire treads.  And we haven’t even gotten into the whole tubular debacle yet.

Sal spends about 5x as much time in the shop as he does racing his bike during ‘cross season and I regret to admit that I’m sort of a demanding customer.  The deeper I get into this whole cycling thing, the worse it gets. Now I have a mountain bike with shocks I don’t understand and weird hydraulic disc brakes.

I can change tires with the best of them, and I occasionally even take on the task of my own cleaning and lubing, but I really don’t know anything about how to wrench my own rigs.

I’d go downstairs and learn from Sal, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it would end the same as the infamous snowboard lessons of 2001 (in frustration and tears). There are just some boundaries that should be observed.  Relationships are hard enough.

So.  I’m taking matters into my own hands.

I’m going to go see Ms. Tori Bortman at Gracie’s Wrench for some structured learnin’ in her basic maintenance course. I’ll post more about this in the future, but it struck me that a gift certificate to Gracie’s could be a pretty cool present if you’ve last things until the last minute and know a cyclist with less than shop-worthy wrenching ability.

In the meantime, there’s snow on the ground again that demands to be conquered. Go outside!  Make adventures!  And if you need inspiration to help you go bust ass in the snow and cold, check out my latest post at iWend about Katie Compton crushing 2005 Nationals.

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