I have a confession to make. I've been a bicycle commuter for 21 years now and I've never changed a tyre.
I've been lucky not to have many punctures while I've been riding and usually when I have I've been able to pump the tyre up enough to get home. Since I've moved back to Ballarat this has become less practical, as I'm now doing more riding out in the country where I can be too far away from home to limp back, and too far away from public transport in an emergency.
So a couple of friends (Sally and Wendy) and I decided to get our bike repair books out, gather together some basic tools and spruce up Wendy's mountain bike. We replaced both tyres, front and rear brakes and the rear brake cable and cleaned the chain. Sally had done most of this before, I had my "Zinn and the Art of Bike Maintenance" and Wendy's bike was our guinea pig.
You can see in the pictures we had fun. The bike came up really well and was a great improvement from before we started.
We took both wheels off, cleaned the bike, cleaned the chain, changed the tyres and tubes, replaced the wheels, took the worn brake pads off and put new ones on and replaced the rear brake cable. It's actually very easy to do all that. As far as changing a tyre goes, for me the difference was having someone show me what to do who let me actually do it myself. Plenty of well meaning people jump in and do the job for you, which makes it look like it's too hard. My advice is to get a good set of tyre levers, not cheap crappy ones. It makes all the difference getting the tyres off, which is the trickiest part.
I guess what I'm saying is that if you're ignorant of any bike maintenance, don't let it stop you riding, there are plenty of good bike shops around who will change a flat tyre for very little. While you're there ask them to look at the brake pads and check they're not worn and buy some oil for the chain. But if you do choose to learn a bit of bike maintenance, it's easy to do and will give you the freedom to travel further.Originally published on the BREAZE website on The Ballarat Bike Beat.