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Getting in Gear

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I always hesitate to write something negative on a blog. But Wednesday was hard. We worked on derailleurs, the system that allows a bicycle to change gears. This intro class is neat because everyone was able to bring their own bike. That means that there is lots of variety in the classroom, as we move through these different systems on the bikes. It also means that I get to overhaul my own bike, and will then know how the systems on my bike work. The potential downside is that my bike needs to be in working order by the end of the day so that I can ride it home. And Wednesday, I just couldn’t get it there.

The day started out bad. When I tried to move through the gears I realized that, on Tuesday after replacing the crankset (the arms that hold the pedals) and chainrings, I re-installed the granny (or easy) gear backwards. This meant that when I tried to move the front gears into the granny gear, my chain got caught between the granny gear ring and the ring beside it. So on Wednesday, instead of starting work on the rear derailleur like the rest of my classmates, I had to go back to the crankset and fix my mistake. This mistake lowered my confidence for the day and put me behind for the whole morning. But by the middle of lunchtime, I had it all sorted out and was back on track. Tuning the rear derailleur and gears actually went pretty smoothly. But then I moved on to the front gears. This proved much trickier. I appreciated the instructor telling me that he didn’t know how to tune a front derailleur for his first two years as a mechanic, and instead just faked it! But I was still frustrated, as it just didn’t seem to go right.

In the end, I think I understand the mechanisms and how to do the work. But we got all the way to 5 o’clock and my bike still needed a little adjustment. So, the instructor made the last adjustment and we tiredly rode home.

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