For the past six months, I’ve been applying Get Rich Slowly principles to physical fitness. By making small changes, I’ve lost seventeen pounds since January 1st. I’ve begun lifting weights regularly for the first time in my life. I’m even preparing for an October marathon!
I injured myself at the end of May, however, and spent the past few weeks recuperating. While waiting for my leg to heal, I turned to cycling to maintain my aerobic conditioning. And as any cyclist will tell you, regular riding means regular maintenance and repairs.
Bike repairs aren’t expensive in the grand scheme of things, but they still cost money. Rather than pay a shop to change a flat, why not learn to do it yourself? Ten years ago, when I was biking nearly every day, I could perform basic bicycle maintenance. Somewhere along the way, I’ve lost that skill. Fortunately, I recently discovered The Bicycle Tutor.
The Bicycle Tutor is the brainchild of Alex Ramon, a bicycle geek since early childhood. He’s worked as a mechanic in bike shops and he likes photography, so it seemed natural for him to start a site with videos to help others learn to fix their own bikes. So far he’s produced 31 short segments describing how to perform various maintenance and repair tasks.
Ramon’s tutorials cover simple things like:
- How to adjust your seat height and angle
- How to clean and lubricate a chain
- How to change a flat tire
Bicycle repair books are helpful, but these videos are easier for me to follow. And they’re free!
The Bicycle Tutor also allows users to download individual guides for $2 each, or to have unfettered access to all existing and future videos for a one-time payment of $25. Though I’m not ready to pay just yet, I can see the value of being able to plop a video tutorial onto my iPod and take it with me on a long ride.
If videos aren’t your style, or if you’re looking for additional information, try these sites:
- Bicycle maintenance guide and riding tips
- Park Tool bike repair how-to guide
- And, of course, the amazing web site of Sheldon Brown, who died in February.
Meanwhile, the doctor has given me the “all clear” to return to running; if things go well, I’ll actually rejoin my marathon training group this morning. But I’ve also got the biking bug again. I’m sure I’ll be returning to The Bicycle Tutor often in the future!