== CONTENTS ==
CONTENTS / INTRODUCTION
PART ONE: GETTING STARTED
PART TWO: BASIC REPAIRS
PART THREE: THE DERAILLEUR DRIVETRAIN
7 • THE MULTI-SPROCKET DRIVETRAIN
8 • SERVICING SIMPLE FRONT AND REAR HUBS
9 • GEARING IMPROVEMENTS
10 • SERVICING FREEWHEELS
11 • SERVICING REAR DERAILLEURS
12 • SERVICING FRONT DERAILLEURS
PART FOUR: THE NON-DERAILLEUR DRIVETRAIN
13 • THE SINGLE-SPROCKET DRIVETRAIN
14 • GEARED AND COASTER-BRAKE HUBS
15 • CRANK HANGERS AND PEDALS
16 • BRAKES
17 • WHEELBUILDING AND WHEEL REPAIR
18 • FRAME AND STEERING
WHY MAINTAIN YOUR OWN BICYCLE?
Why should an average bicycle user learn to do maintenance work which could be left to professional mechanics? Or, asking the question another way, why do many bicycle shops conduct repair classes which might seem to take work away from their mechanics?
If you ride a bicycle, you are in the best position to maintain that bicycle.
Since you have to propel it with your own strength, a bicycle is built light. A bicycle's peak performance depends on frequent fine-tuning, not just an occasional overhaul such as a washing machine or power lawnmower needs. Bicycle maintenance is not very difficult or time-consuming, but your involvement is part of the prescription for keeping your bicycle running well.
The moving parts of the bicycle are mostly on the outside, where you can see and hear them. You feel them through your hands, your feet, and your rear end. You, the rider, get to know your bicycle better than anyone else; you are with it every moment that it is running.
In the peak riding season, you may have to leave your bicycle at a bike shop for a week to wait its turn for a repair which takes a few minutes with simple tools. You'd probably rather be riding your bike.
Working on your bicycle makes it more useful, and has additional rewards as well.
There is probably no better focus for learning basic mechanical skills than a bicycle. To work on bikes, you need only a small collection of moderately priced tools. A bike is small; you don't need a big workspace. Without an engine, it is relatively clean; the dirt of bike work can be easily managed. Bicycle maintenance rarely requires brute strength; more often, it requires skilled hands and a fine touch.
When you're out on the road on your bike, your mechanical skills can keep you rolling. Getting to your destination is rewarding enough, but the sense of accomplishment is an even greater reward.
The common repairs, like fixing a flat tire, are simple; yet there is no limit to the skill you can apply to mechanical work on bicycles. With time and patience, you build from one accomplishment to another. Given a bit of patience, almost anyone can learn to maintain his or her own bike; for those who wish to go farther, designing and building bicycles can be a lifework for a talented artisan.
And you don't have to worry about putting the bike shop out of business. People who maintain their bikes use their bikes, and are valued customers.
However far you wish to go, the road begins here.
Buying or selling bikes on eBay or Craig's List ... if you wheel and deal bike stuff online, you can get the most for your investment if you know the difference between a viable fixer-upper and an unworthy junker.
Yet another answer:
Developing skills-set for a career as a bicycle mechanic ... either as an independent entrepreneurship (i.e., work for yourself) or at a local shop.
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