I’ve been riding my bike to work for almost a year now. Five miles to work and five miles back, five days a week, which means I’m getting somewhere around 100 to 150 miles a month on it. Sometimes I can’t ride my bike, but I try to ride to work as much as I can.
I’ll even ride in the pouring rain (thanks outlier) because it’s not that much harder than not riding in the rain, but very few people ride when it’s wet out so that means a little more elbow room at stop lights; plus it’s easier to stay cool when climbing the hills.
All this riding (and rain/mud riding) has not been great for my bike. I paid for a couple tuneups to replace some broken parts, but I didn’t realize how much I’d been neglecting my bike until I got it up on a bike stand and—well, it wasn’t good.
Enter Lennard Zinn’s Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance! I spent a couple of nights reading and the more I read the more I realized the maintenance part of it is terrifyingly easy to do. In fact it’s almost a bit embarrassing to admit that I wasn’t doing it.
So today I took the bike apart, scraped the gunk off the chain, cleaned the cassette with a toothbrush, scrubbed my rims, and oiled the chain. Just like that I could feel the difference riding around my neighborhood.
I can’t recommend Zinn’s book more. It’s highly readable and there was very little mystery about what he was talking about thanks to the many illustrations. Where I previously felt a little fearful of unscrewing something and not knowing how to screw it back on (take pictures!) I feel like I leveled up a bit and want to try more projects in the future.