Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bike maintenance

Tonight after work I stopped by the LBS and bought a new chain for my road bike. I've known my bike was due for a new chain for a while but never got around to purchasing one. I hate to admit it, since it reflects my lack of attention to maintenance, but my chain probably has 3,000+ miles on it. Way past due. I also picked up a chain tool. I was surprised how easy it is to remove the chain. You simply lay the chain in the tool, tighten the threads on the driver pin and out pops the chain's connecting pin. Installing the new chain is easy too, except that I wasn't thinking about chain length (doh) until after I had the chain connected and noticed it was sagging against the rear derailleur cage like this:

I took out a few links, connected it back again and thought I was done. Not so fast. See the problem with procrastinating the maintenance on your chain is that it causes other parts to wear quickly, like the cassette. This became apparent when the new chain started hopping down to the next smaller rear chain ring whenever I back pedaled the crank as a result of the cogs worn to the point that the new chain wouldn't match up properly. So, now I'm going to have to purchase a new cassette.

This little lesson on bike maintenance reminds me of something a guy told me the other night while I was doing a church financial audit at one of the local wards. We were discussing how the church finances are simple to keep straight as long as you do the little things each month to stay on top of things. He commented how he tells his daughter that "it's much easier to keep things clean than to clean them up."

Isn't that so true with many things in life. The little things we do or don't do on a consistent basis whether it be mechanical maintenance like timely changing the oil in your car or replacing your chain on your bike or maybe physical maintenance like eating healthy or exercising daily if neglected end up resulting in big problems down the road. No, not earth shattering stuff....just common sense, but sometimes it's good to be reminded of these things. So, please, do yourself a favor and make sure you change your chain more frequently than I did.

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