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Roadside Repairs


Monday’s class on Emergency Roadside Repairs was a big hit. Cort Percer, of Peddler Bike Shop, started the class off with a demonstration. There were a few gasps and nervous laughter when, as he showed us how to pull the back wheel off of a bicycle, his back derailleur broke off. But Cort kept his cool. And one class participant said that this put her more at ease because she felt like surely she couldn’t do anything worse than that to her bike!

After going over the tools in a Flat Fix Kit and demonstrating the actual fixing of a flat, Cort turned us loose to try it on our own bicycles. A few were intimidated, at first, by attempting to remove the back wheel. But I decided to have a go, mostly out of fear that this would be the one to go flat when I’m out on my own with the kids in tow.


Fixing a flat seems like something I ought to know. But I didn’t and I was pretty embarrassed by this. I also felt incredibly nervous riding around town with my kids, just waiting for the time I would get stranded. In this embarrassment, I found that I was in good company. Almost everyone that attended this class said sheepishly to me some variation of: I ride but I have no idea how to fix a flat!

In this class, we all had plenty of time to try, and try, again. I only took the tire and tube off once. But I replaced the wheel on the back of my bike two or three times. And I re-aired the tire five or six times. I was sure that the air pump was meant to put air into my tire. But up until last night, the only thing my air pump ever did was let all the air out of my tires! After practicing several times, though, I can actually air up the tires, now. As an added bonus, I learned that I have the special kind of tubes that allow me to put a little air in to start by merely blowing into the valve! Amazing!


Another thing that I really liked about this class was that we had a chance to watch each other. I watched my friend get instructed in releasing her brake before removing her back wheel. But I totally missed that I should do the same to mine. Luckily, I had an audience when I tried to replace the wheel. And one pointed out that I, too, needed to release the brake (and then also re-engage it!).

Early on in the class, I still heard folks saying that they felt stupid or silly that they didn’t already have these skills. But I think that by the end, everyone was comfortable in the fact that no one was judging. And Cort did a great job getting around to everyone to make sure that all questions were answered.


At the end, Cort pulled some bicycles up to the front to show some other problems that could arise. Mine was one of the demos because the back break had misaligned when I replaced the wheel. Another had a chain that was rubbing the wheel spokes. Since this was “Emergency Roadside Repairs,” Cort stuck to showing us what we would do to fix the bicycle enough to get home. He mentioned some other work that might need to be done in the Shop to some of the bicycles. But I appreciated that he didn’t overwhelm us with details on how to do that work. More detailed fixes will be topics for other classes.


This was a great class and one I think will be more than worth repeating. So, if you missed it this time, watch the newsletter and calendar for your next opportunity!

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