Thursday, September 30, 2010

Left to Right, Clean, Grease, Right to Left

If you can follow the title than you have successfully disassembled, cleaned, inspected for broken parts, greased, and reassembled any of the rotational systems on a bicycle. It is all to often that we will hear a kid in the shop ask where his lock nut disappeared to or where her axle went and our response to them is normally, "If it wasn't on a rag than it was recycled." Now I understand that this may seem a little harsh, but to think about it makes one realize that it is teaching them the correct, more organized, and easier way of taking something apart and then putting it back together.

We try to teach each participant to, when they are disassembling a component on their bike, place all of their parts on a rag from left to right just like reading a book. For example:

What we don't like to see is a jumbled mess or parts spread out all over the shop, for example:

Although the above picture does have all of its parts on a rag, they are not organized and for a participant who may not know which part goes first, it may get confusing when reassembling the system.

The moral of the story is to keep things organized whether it be at the shop, at home, or at school. Keeping things on a rag from left to right is just our way of teaching that!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Seat Posts

I saw this question and answer on what is the right seat post to install on a frame and thought it made sense. From

"How does one determine the proper size seat post for a frame that comes without one. I've measured the inside of the seat tube with no tension on the binder. I understand that the post has to be smaller in diameter than that measurement but how much smaller?

They should be very close. Go with the next size down from what you measure. i.e. if the post measures as 27.32, go with a 27.2. Keep in mind that the very top of the seat tube often gets crimped in a bit, and will actually measure smaller than if you could measure the tube an inch lower, so it can be a bit tricky.
"Beer can works great for a shim."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sticking to the Game Plan

The CBC staff has recently been discussing ways in which we can help kids follow trough with personal goals and helping them realize how it feels to accomplish something that they thought might be too much or too hard. During the summer, we had many folks set goals for themselves including:

1. Complete the Trek Across Maine
2. Make it to the 500 Mile Club
3. Complete a bike to ride to and from work, school, or friends houses
4. Sleep over night at a friend’s house
5. Finish a ride longer than 5 miles

these are only a few. The thing to remember here is that it is easy to set goals, but much harder to follow through with. Coming up with ways to keep kids focused and determined is essential when helping them reach a certain goal. Some ideas:

1. Have them write things down. Write out goals as well as ways to stay motivated. Write down what your going to do when you achieve a goal-- celebrate with friends, have an ice cream, take a nap...
2. Revisit these ideas a few times per month. See where they are at with everything.
3. Set small goals to achieve something bigger. For example, finishing a bike in one day might be unrealistic, but getting the brakes to work is reasonable.
4. Set realistic goals.
5. Most importantly, be supportive through the good and the bad.

I got to thinking about goal setting and following through with plans recently when a participant at the CBC, who had set a goal for himself, wanted to, for lack of a better word, quit. His initial goal was to build a bike and instead of paying the $5 he would do chores around the shop to help pay off his bike.

The day he completed his bike, he had not yet completed his end of the deal, but instead brought in the $5 to pay for the bike. At first, I thought it to be okay, but after I really thought about it, I sat him down and explained to him what I was thinking. Of course, the tears started rolling and the participant thought he would never come back. After a while, we came up with a plan to stick to the original goal. He showed up the next day, worked off his bike, and rode it home that night.

Not only did he build a bike, not only did he work it off, he achieved a goal and
it is experiences like these that we look forward to as volunteers and staff.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Colder Weather, Freezing Water

As we change seasons and shift to cooler fall weather, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. It may not be cold at the start of a ride, but remember, when you are on your bike you are traveling a lot faster and you must factor in wind. Be sure to layer up, you can always take layers off.

2. It is getting darker sooner. Be sure to plan your ride around sunset. You, as well as the road you are riding on, is less visible in the dark. Follow this link to view sunrise and sunset times for the month of September (

3. Keep an eye on your tire pressure. As the temperature cools down, you may lose a bit of pressure in your tires. It does not necessarily mean you have a flat or a slow leak—remember heat causes air to expand and the opposite occurs in cooler weather.

4. Give your bike a once over. Check the bikes rotational systems. Although we did not have much rain this year, there is still a chance that you have some water mixing around in there.

5. Continue to stay hydrated! You may not feel or look dehydrated, but do not leave anything up to chance. Remember; eat before your hungry, sleep before your tired, and DRINK BEFORE YOUR THIRSTY.

6. And last, but certainly not least, continue to have fun! Enjoy the different, colors, smells, and changes of fall! Follow this link to view the CBC's fall schedule ( Hope to see or hear from you all soon!

On a more serious note, we have noticed a few participants and adults replacing their plastic water bottles with the solid aluminum water bottles. The problem with this is that water bottle cages are not designed to hold these longer more narrow water bottles. If the water bottle were to fall out it could cause serious injury. Unfortunately, a friend and supporter of the CBC has been dealing with a lower back injury for two years because of this.

If you must carry an aluminum water bottle, carry it in your back pack or in your ride bag as this is a much safer place for it. Or stick to the old fashioned plastic water bottle and if your worried about it not being as cool, come over to the CBC and decorate it yourself. An uncool water bottle is a lot cooler than not riding!