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#1
Hi Everyone...

I'm a mechanically UN-inclined girl, I started riding a couple of months ago after growing tired of riding the bus everywhere. My Dad gave me a nice Trek that he had in his garage... Since, I've blown multiple tubes- and my seat, wheels and handlebars were jacked one night. My dad doesn't live in town. So, I've had to go to a local bike shop where I feel I've been totally ripped off, it seems like every time I leave there my bicycle is in a worse condition! Also, I don't know what the heck is with my gears. Some days my bike is easy to ride, other days not so much... my chain is making noise. I ride my bike about 20 miles a day, 5 days a week, urban. I need it to work! So, I guess I'm just here looking for a heads up or thirty- not only do I depend on my bike, but I enjoy riding and want to learn... Any suggestions would be appreciated!
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#2
Good for you for getting out there! Don't get discouraged.

It sucks to get stuff stolen. It's likely to happen again if you're leaving the bike outside at night unfortunately, so try to find a way to bring it in. I'm assuming you didn't have the wheels locked. If you are leaving it locked outside a lot, you need at least one good U-lock to get one wheel and the frame and maybe a decent cable to get the other wheel. There's several ways (and debate about the best way) to lock a bike. Nothing's theft proof, but the better locked, the more likely they'll look for an easier target. You can get special little cables to secure the seat to the frame. Or some people now take a short piece of old bike chain and tie the seat down with it.

Doesn't sound like you're having a good experience at your local shop. Look around for another if possible. Having a good mechanic you trust who will treat you well is very valuable and worth going a little out of your way.

On your gear noise, you need to figure out if this is coming from the front or back, is it in all gears or just some, can you see anything rubbing on the chain, etc. These tutorials are a good place to start: http://bicycletutor.com/part/derailleur/

In general, you don't need to be a master mechanic to ride a lot. But there are a few things you should learn. How to change a flat tire is #1. You shouldn't get them often, but it sucks to get stranded because you don't know how to change it or have the tool with you. There are a lot of online sites with basic instructions. But nothing beats hands-on. See if you can get someone to walk you through it. And then actually do it at least once on your own. The first time you try shouldn't be on the road and late for work.

Basic bike maintenance is not hard. But it is a little tough to get started if you have no experience and no tools. Don't be afraid to tinker a little. As you learn a little, it will get much easier to learn more.

Depending on where you are, there are more and more groups out there dedicated to helping people learn to handle their bike themselves. Some specifically focus on women since there are more barriers to women feeling comfortable and getting the skills they need. This is a great female run organization in Los Angeles: http://cicle.org/ You might see if they can refer you to someone in your area.

Keep an eye out for other female cyclists and don't be afraid to stop them and grill them for recommendations on good shops, where they get help, etc. Bikers tend to stick together and love to help each other out.

And get some tires with kevlar belts, you shouldn't be getting so many flats Smile
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#3
(08-26-2009, 10:48 PM)DaveM Wrote:  And get some tires with kevlar belts, you shouldn't be getting so many flats.

Check your tire pressure. If you're getting that many flats in an urban environment, you could be running too low a pressure. Check the sidewall of the tire for optimal pressure.

Good luck!
Dedicated scholar of bicycles
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#4
The right tire pressure is important. It makes for an easier ride and goes a long way to deterring punctures. Get yourself a "track pump" and this will make it a lot easier to get the correct pressures.

On the side of the tire wall is usually the pressure range that it is designed for. Track pumps usually have a pressure gauge to indicate the pressure in the tube. (Normally though, if topping up a tire already under pressure, you have to release some of the pressure as the "valve" sticks.)

If you are a lightweight then chose the lower end of the pressure range or adjust to suit your needs.

There are a myriad of makes but check out your LBS or online.

We/I usually carry 2 inner tubes when riding plus tire levers and a pump. Learn how to remove wheels & tires and how to check for the cause of the puncture. You can then fit one of the spare tubes and pump it up. With a bit of practice you should be able to be on your way again within 15 minutes.

You can then repair the punctured tube at home.
[font=Trebuchet MS]Ride hard or ride home alone![/font]
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#5
(08-26-2009, 10:48 PM)DaveM Wrote:  It sucks to get stuff stolen. It's likely to happen again if you're leaving the bike outside at night unfortunately, so try to find a way to bring it in. I'm assuming you didn't have the wheels locked. If you are leaving it locked outside a lot, you need at least one good U-lock to get one wheel and the frame and maybe a decent cable to get the other wheel. There's several ways (and debate about the best way) to lock a bike. Nothing's theft proof, but the better locked, the more likely they'll look for an easier target. You can get special little cables to secure the seat to the frame. Or some people now take a short piece of old bike chain and tie the seat down with it.

For locking up your bike check this out,very good information here.
http://www.streetfilms.org/hal-grades-your-bike-locking-3-the-final-warning/

Remember it's mind over matter
if you don't mind it doesn't matter

Ride more drive less
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#6
Breezelley Let me welcome you this this forum. You came to the right place for free help. Just ask your ? here and some one will try there best to get you on your way. As far as getting rip off it does suck big time I know this all to well my self. It's best if you can take your bicycle in side for the night this way no one can take it from you. And you will need a good lock. No matter how well you lock it if some one wants it its gone sad to say. Also get your self a good how to book just ask here and some one will tell you what they like lol and bet it will be a good book for you too. Have a great day and Once again Welcome to the forum.P.S. On a book you may find this book a good one for you Its called Bicycle Maintenance and repair by Todd Downs you can get this book at Amazon.com
My dad always told me a Sledge a matic can fix any thing.
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