Quick bike fix | Day 93 of 100

2min read

I spent a lot of time today 'fixing' my bike. I had a few close calls in the closing stages of last year which have put me off riding through the winter. (That and the weather... I'm definitely a fair-weather cyclist!). I had a bit of trouble with the rear derailleur (the bit that changes the gears) and having been putting off learning how they work so I can fix it.

After a few youtube videos I called myself and expert in the matter and dove straight into it. Quickly establishing that the problem was worse than I thought. Almost like fixing your car, the problems escalated quickly to the point where I was taking the whole thing to bits. This sounds like a nightmare scenario, surely these things should 'just work'. I haven't fiddled with them, so they shouldn't be broke right? Not quite true...

Nevertheless, I tinkered on, fully removing the derailleur half taking it to bits to clean it and then re-assembling, re-fitting and re-indexing it. Only to find that my derailleur is too old to have half of the 'make your life easier' components and designs that the modern derailleurs in the videos had. I think they call it 'retro'. This didn't throw me though, in taking it to bits and 'tinkering' with it earlier in the day I had learnt why the derailleur was designed the way it is, learning the key function of each component and the result of each adjustment.

After piecing back together the rear of my bike, I took it for a quick spin. Not perfect, but pretty good, and much better than it was. I was also very satisfied that I had learnt and solved a new puzzle almost from scratch, with a bit of help from youtube. I guess the takeaway is though that sometimes there isn't a 'quick fix' and you have to solve the problem the hard way. Though we shouldn't shy away, because the hard way is often quite fulfilling.