Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cody's Reading List: Bicycle Repair and Maintenance

Maybe you're a weekend racer.  Or you have a hybrid leaning against the wall of your bedroom.  Or you're a  burgeoning bicycle restoration guru.  If you've got a bicycle, you can probably count on dropping some money into repair and maintenance at some point.  And you can definitely save some of that money by doing the work yourself.  This installment of Cody's Reading List will help you find the resources you need to get the job done.

Although there are some good references out there on the information superhighway, it doesn't get much better than learning from an experienced bicycle technician.  For me, that person was my father, who is quite adept at bicycle repair and maintenance.  He definitely showed me the ropes and taught me to take care of my bicycle.  But now that I have my own garage of bicycles to keep in good working order, I sometimes need some quick guides when I come across a problem that I haven't encountered before.  And phoning up my old man isn't always an option.

If you've ever done a Google search for anything related to bicycle repair, you've probably come across Hugh's Bicycle Blog.  This site can be a good resource if you are able to wade through several years of regular blog updates to find the information you need.  The guy seems to be pretty capable and takes on some pretty interesting projects.  What's more, the work that is included in his posts ranges from the most basic, here's-how-you-inflate-a-tire-with-a-pump tasks all the way up to intensive rebuilds.  There's one notable catch, and that would be Hugh's writing.  His posts can be pretty rife with grammar and spelling errors and he seems to have some sort of infatuation with improperly used hyphens and quotation marks.  But other than that, it's a good blog and I am a regular reader.

If you want a website that moves a little more toward an easy reference guide, Sheldon Brown's website is it.  Sadly, Sheldon passed away in 2008, but to this day, professional mechanics will still reference his site when recommending sources of information on bicycle repair.  This guy was a true expert on everything bicycle-related.  His site is fairly easy to navigate, with various subjects separated onto their own respective pages and the ability to browse or search the site.  His explanations are very straightforward and there's even some occasional humor thrown in.  The information on the site can get very technical, and includes lots of tables on sizing, threading, pitch, and other measurements for modern and older bikes, as well as now-defunct parts.  This is often particularly helpful for those of us who like to work on vintage and classic machines.  If you are at all interested in bicycle repair and maintenance, you must bookmark Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Technical Info.  No exceptions.

Lastly, there's the all-out quick reference guide option, brought to you by Park Tools.  The Park Tool Repair Help site is probably the most comprehensive and easy to use bicycle repair site out there.  You simply highlight the area of the bicycle diagram that you're interested in and click.  You're then given an extensive list of common repair and maintenance how-to guides.  The individual articles are step-by-step procedures and there are clear pictures and diagrams that accompany nearly each step, almost like a set of instructions.  For common issues related to bicycle repair and maintenance, this site is indispensable, and I used it quite regularly as I was learning some of the more advanced repairs.

Speaking of Park Tools, I should also mention that I received the Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair for Christmas last year.  I haven't had a chance to crack the cover yet, but if it's anything like their repair website, you can bet that it's pretty much invaluable.


  1. Hey Cody,
    I don`t know if I can do much about my writing style but I will keep your observations in mind. And you are right on about it being difficult to find specific info. So thanks for pointing that out. Today I have added a search feature to the blog. Hopefully it will make it much easier to find what ever project or info readers are looking for.
    As far as my spelling goes I`ll werk on that too(: Thanks for posting your review, it was most helpful. Cheers, Hugh

    1. Hugh - Great idea on the search box. I tried it out today and it's definitely helpful. I hope I wasn't too critical of your blog...the purpose of my reading list is to point out blogs, websites, and books that I highly recommend. So any criticism was further to my opinion that your blog is awesome and a great resource. I appreciate you taking my comments into consideration. By all means, keep up the good work and let's stay in touch!

  2. Thanks Cody,
    I can learn a lot more from constructive criticism than from praise. I have enough people patting me on the back. Thanks for the pointers. I enjoyed browsing your blog. I added it to my list of blogs.
    Cheers, Hugh