Bike Repair 101 at Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen
By Guest Blogger Amreet Sandhu
I consider myself to be someone who knows enough about bicycles to be quite confident on one. I have organized two successful group rides for Sacramento Tweed Ride in the past year (Tweed Ride, Fall 2014; Seersucker Ride, Spring 2015), logged more than 100 miles during May is Bike Month, oftentimes attend group rides in other cities, and regularly cycle to work, building and writing about our strong cycling team for our employer newsletter.
That means it is very embarrassing to ask basic cycling questions. As an adult, the first very embarrassing question I asked was: “How do I pump this bike tire?” I had switched from a Schrader to a Presta valve, and had absolutely no idea how to (1) open my Presta, (2) avoid completely deflating my tire while pumping air, and then (3) avoid deflating my tire while closing my Presta. It was difficult for me to ask for help.
Thankfully, the man who helped me was incredibly kind. He did not laugh at me, or look at me in shock, or insult me in any way. He pumped my tire, explained the process to me, and then followed up with information and images that enabled me do this myself from that point forward. Pump a woman’s tire and she’ll cycle for a day. Teach a woman to pump her own tire and she will be ready to rock and roll forever.
Luckily, the Schrader v. Presta valve distinction lesson went well for me. However, that had not always been my experience. More than once, I have entered a bike shop to ask a simple question, and have been bombarded with information overload or pressure to purchase more products than I need. More than once, I have been instructed on bicycle repair or safety in a way that was condescending, patronizing—or outright mean.
Yes, macho bike shops. Sadly, it is one faction of bicycle culture, but fortunately—not everywhere.
Enter Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen…
Sacramento Bike Kitchen is a place where volunteers will answer your questions, no matter how stupid they may seem to you at the time, and then—train you to handle your own bicycle repairs.
In preparation for May is Bike Month, current board member and former President of the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen, Shannon Southwood, trained me to change my own bicycle tire tube. This woman is a professional. She’s knows her stuff. At the Bicycle Kitchen, I received individual training from her—for FREE. Here is what I learned.
How to change a tire tube in 10 easy pictures
- See bicycle tire information to determine which tube to purchase ( photo 1)
- Snap flat tire off frame by releasing the wheel hub ( photo 2)
- Completely deflate tube (photo 3)
- Use tire repair tools to separate tube from tire (photo 4)
- Push presta through rim to enable tube separation from rim (photo 5)
- Pull deflated tube from between tire and rim (photo 6)
- Partially pump the new tube (photo 7)
- Insert new, partially pumped tube under tire and around rim, use tools if necessary to lift tire from rim (photo 8)
- Pump new tube in tire (photo 9)
- Snap newly pumped tire back onto the wheel hub (photo 10)
Learn local bicycle laws and hit the road!
Join the many cycling events around town listed online throughout the year. Riding with groups helps with building confidence, learning new routes, and meeting like-minded people.
I hope this motivates you to learn more about your bicycle. I would certainly recommend the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen as place where that is an option in a safe, supportive, and macho-free zone. Volunteers and fellow cyclists are required to leave their egos at the door so that learning can happen.
Cheers to cycling the grid and beyond, confidently and safely!