Getting help

One of the best ways to get good, regular maintenance is to find a good bike shop. How? Here are some tips.

Finding a bike shop

  • Ask around. Find people who ride like you do, and are happy with the work done on their bikes. Get the name of their bike shop.
  • Go to a recommended shop and talk with the owner or manager. (If you can, do this when they’re not busy: during cold or rainy seasons, or mid-morning on a business day.) Tell them you want to find a shop where you can regularly have your bike fixed.
  • Ask about the mechanics. Are they experienced urban bikers? Also ask if you can use the same mechanic every time (just as you’d always have the same person cut your hair). Some shops hire certain mechanics just for the summer, so you don’t know if they’ll be around next year.
  • How does the dealer react to your questions? If they seem willing to spend time with you, you might have found a winner.

Do it yourself

Maybe you’d like to know enough about repairs to keep you bike going in emergencies. Or maybe you can’t pay a bike shop every time you need repairs. If so, learn to fix stuff yourself—it’s easier than you might think! Several ways to learn:

  • Take a class. Many bike dealers, community colleges, and bike clubs offer bike-repair classes.
  • Get a book. Some books on fixing bikes are easy to follow. Find one you like at a bookstore or bike shop.
  • Get an advisor. Find a friend or bike dealer who’s willing to advise you when you can’t figure stuff out. In exchange for a bike dealer’s help with your bike, you can:
    • Buy the tools and parts you need at their shop.
    • Refer your friends to them.
    • Put off big repairs until cold or rainy months, when they need business.

 This guide is excerpted from Urban Bikers’ Tricks & Tips, by Dave Glowacz. Get the whole thing at bookstores, by calling 800-888-4741 or order it from the Active Transportation Alliance here.

Active Transportation Alliance
312/42-PEDAL (427-3325)
www.activetrans.org

Chicago Department of Transportation
312/742-BIKE (2453)
www.chicagobikes.org

Report a city street hazard:
dial 311

Report a Lakefront Path Hazard:
312/747-2474

Chicagoland Bicycle Map
Only $6.95. Six counties, all the bike paths and recommended street routes. Order from the Active Transportation Alliance here, or get one free when you become a member.

Copyright © 2003 by Wordspace Press. Learn more from the source: Urban Bikers' Tricks & Tips.

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