It just occurred to me that the title for this post could be taken to mean a number of things. Having just been at the co-op a few days ago, the first thought that comes to mind is that of parting out a bike. As luck would have it, that’s actually not too far off the mark. This post is the first installment in a five part series on “Ten Common Substitutes for Bike-Specific Tools”, and it’s brought to you by guest contributor, Daniel.
I’ve got to give Daniel some serious props for a few of these tips, because they are right clever. The only concern I have is that my wife will read this post, and I’ll have a heck of a time ever convincing her I need to buy tools again.
Anyway, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m always happy to share the press with anyone who has something to say on the topics at hand. Meanwhile, many thanks, Daniel.
If you’re like me, you are struggling with the winter blues of cycling. My name is Daniel, an avid reader of “Hadrian on a Bicycle” and a person with a passion for bicycling. The Village Scribe has graciously allowed me to post some maintenance tips that might help you in this off-season (unless you are one of those that either 1) braves the salty cold winter roads or 2) can afford an indoor trainer.) I’ve been riding and working on bicycles since my youth so I’ve figured out how to maintain them with the few tools that were available at my discretion. I never got “in” to cycling until about a year ago when I discovered that there were multiple bicycle specific tools that make maintenance easier and sometimes even more fun, but they are not always necessary. I thought I’d share some of those maintenance tips in hopes that you may find them useful, or at least entertaining. So without further adieu, I present to you my “top ten common uses for bike specific tools.” Starting at number 10:
10. Use of a tape measure to see how worn out a chain is.
I know Park Tools makes a tool to show how worn a chain is; I get along fine ensuring the rivets line up with the inch marks on a rule. If they start to skew further and further away from the inch marks around the 1 foot mark, the chain needs to be replaced. (This picture doesn’t show it too well but this chain is severely worn.)
9. Use of clothespins, mini-clamps and crayons for truing wheels.
If you don’t own a truing stand (which I didn’t know existed till last year) wheels can be trued using the brake pads of a bike while the wheel is mounted in the dropouts in place of the guide calipers of a traditional truing stand. This works great if all of your bikes are multi-speeds; trouble is, most of my bikes are single speeds without external brakes. The method I’ve found that works is setting a pair of clothes pins or mini-clamps on the frame of the bike as your mock calipers and using a crayon to mark the out of round spots (thanks for that one Dad!) will tell you exactly where you need to wrench on your spokes to get the wheel back in true.