Tag Archives: bicycle maintenance

Bicycle mechanics

Before leaving for France, I got a wild hair and decided to attempt some bicycle maintenance on my Batavus. There’s no Batavus dealer in my area, and I was a little bit worried that no one had checked in on the internal hub after a year of riding, even though I haven’t had any problems. So I grabbed up my manual, thinking, there’s got to be something I can do in here...

And there was. According to my manual, the gear shift unit was supposed to have two red dots on it that needed to be aligned—if they weren’t, then the gears were “out of tune” (I can hear you actual bicycle mechanics laughing their asses off all the way in France—maybe one day I’ll master the lingo!).

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Luckily I had a faithful assistant at my side.

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he already has grease on his nose!

I looked for the dots in the location the manual indicated. Didn’t see them.
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My assistant took a turn. Still no dice.

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Finally, after rolling around a bit and craning my neck, I noticed the red dots—BELOW the gear shift unit, not to the rear of it. Possibly this has to do with some adjustment they made to the bike in Littlehampton, to make it better for hills. Or possibly my Bat is a mutant. Opinions?

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Either way, they were found, and adjusted (very slightly), and we all lived happily ever after. I thought this might be useful to other mechanic dilettantes who don’t have a Batavus dealer nearby!

Have you ever found that something on your bike was different from what was shown in the manual?

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LGRAB Learning Experiences: Week 1 Roundup

So far, LGRAB Summer Games Part II is off to a great start. We’ve had at least one person perform every task already! From carrying groceries to test-riding a Pashley or a Trek Belleville, our awesome readers are finding fun and creative ways to learn more about cycling. Without further ado, le round-up:

  • Perform a maintenance task — big or small!

Missy had to tune up her bike before competing in her first triathlon last weekend. Scott from Two Sixteen put together an amazing bar tape tutorial. Dave from Portlandize gave handsome Bertrand a bath, and Biking Toronto talked about restoring a vintage bike.

  • Decorate your bike

Two creative ideas here: Sumeha’s Ugly Pad, which I find pretty cute!

And customized wine-cork valve caps from 416 Cycle Style.

  • Read a book about cycling

Morty at Slow Bike Madison dug into The Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne, while Carolyn picked up The Art of Urban Cycling by Richard Hurst. Watch for our suggested bicycle reading list, coming soon.

  • Carry a load on your bike — groceries, etc.

Seeing the different things everyone carries by bike is so much fun. Smallest load: Margaret’s Frozen Yogurt (hey, a load is relative, I suppose!). Biggest potential? Scott’s modified trailer, which was ready to haul fence posts.  Dave and Patrina at Portlandize went to the farmer’s market, and Carice even carried flowers. (Miss Sarah has your water!) And one of you showed us how much you carry on your normal commute. We’re still waiting for the cargo bike brigade to weigh in—show us what you’ve got! :)

  • Test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride

This one brought us our first reader video submission: check out Sumehra and her sister test-riding a Pashley! Verdict: “This is the best bike ever.”

Meanwhile, Samantha rode a Bakfiets and Monty gave the Trek Belleville a spin.

What events will you be completing in this round? Don’t forget to email us with the details.

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LGRAB Summer Games, Part II: Learning Experiences

Well, the first phase of the LGRAB Summer Games is over, and we have had a blast reading and sharing your incredible, inspiring entries–more than 50, at last count! We’ll be drawing for the first round of prizes tonight, so be sure to get your entries in by noon today if you want to be included.

The Learning Experiences portion of the contest starts today, and I’ve been looking forward to this one. Even non-bike owners can participate, since two of the events don’t necessitate having a bike of your own. My bikes are especially excited at the prospect of me performing a maintenance task. I am especially excited about test-riding a different type of bike: drop bars, here I come.  Ladies and gentlemen, your challenge awaits.

June 7-June 27: Learning Experiences

  • Perform a maintenance task — big or small!
  • Decorate your bike
  • Read a book about cycling
  • Carry a load on your bike — groceries, etc.
  • Test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride

Prizes for this round (to be awarded to anyone who plays in Part II) include a Mark’s Rack from Rivendell, a canvas utility pannier from Minnehaha and a Bates Crate. Winners will be determined by random drawing on July 29. As always, email us your blog links or your stories and photos using the subject line “Summer Games Part II Entry” (and don’t forget to check out our Flickr group). Don’t forget that you must complete two events in each round to be eligible for the grand prize of a Batavus BuB. See our original post for complete details.

Thanks to all the sponsors and players! You can drool over the complete prize list here.

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