Category Archives: Bike Maintenance & Repair

Maintenance, repairs, and DIY hacks to keep your bike happy and healthy.

The Anatomy of a Bike: Identifying the Parts

A bicycle is the sum of all its parts — headset, crank, cluster, and many others. But what are these parts, where do you find them? Tamia dissects a bike to identify the most commonly referenced anatomical features. Don’t worry, though, the demo isn’t gross.

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by Tamia Nelson | May 24, 2018
Originally published in different form on June 19, 2017

Do you know what’s meant by a bike’s headset? Or the rear dropout? Or the chainstay? You might not if you’re new to cycling. Or if you’ve been riding bikes for awhile but never gave thought to more than the pedals, saddle, and tire pressures. Yet if your bike develops a strange knock, or the steering seems wonky for no reason, or the brakes aren’t functioning properly, than you’ll have an easier time diagnosing the problem if you know how to identify the bike’s constituent parts. This is doubly true if you are thinking of learning to service and repair your bike.

Even simple bicycles are built of many parts. The frame is obvious, … Continue reading »

Put a Sock in It… Your Toolbox, That Is

This ain’t no sock puppet, nor an expensive piece of high tech equipment, but you can’t beat it for getting the job done.
Bicycle Maintenance Article on

by Tamia Nelson | May 4, 2018

If you’re looking for the best rag ever for cleaning a bike, look no further than your worn out socks. I have a box full of old cotton crew socks with a terry cloth footbed, and they’re perfect for the job. Just turn the sock inside out, slip it over your hand, dip it into sudsy warm water, and give your bike a rub-down. What could be simpler? Better still, I’ve a lifetime supply, and these rags are free!

Read more: Care and Feeding of Bikes | Choosing a Bike and Making It Yours | Practical Cycling

Socking It To You - (c) Tamia Nelson - Verloren Hoop -

Questions? Comments? Then click here to send Tamia an e‑mail.Continue reading »

The Fine Art of Installing Bicycle Pedals

Some simple jobs aren’t really so simple, and are more involved than they at first seem to be. For example, installing and removing bike pedals isn’t difficult, but you need to know how or you’ll do damage. Tamia shows you the way to do it.

by Tamia Nelson | April 7, 2018
Originally published in different form on April 4, 2005

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Pedals are important. Very important. They join your feet to your bike, and since your legs are the pistons that drive the wheels, this is no small matter. Yet despite their vital role, pedals appear to be simple devices. Don’t be fooled. There’s a lot about pedals that doesn’t meet the eye, beginning with the way they’re fastened to the crank arms.

Why would you want to know this? These are the reasons why…

  • Pedals loosen, and a loose pedal can destroy a costly aluminum crank in just a few hours, leaving you stranded in the process.
  • Pedals need regular maintenance, and you have to remove them to maintain them. And…
  • …many new
Continue reading »

Getting Ready to Roll: Prepping a New Bike for the Road

The only way to know if your new bike is ready to ride is to check it out, and that’s one job it’s best not to leave to others.

by Tamia Nelson | April 21, 2018

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One of the many benefits of buying from a good bike shop is that your new bike will be ready to roll when you take delivery. This is why experienced riders usually advise new cyclists to shop at their local bike shop (or LBS, if you like acronyms). But not every local bike shop is good, and bike shops of any description are rare finds outside cities. Moreover, these small shops are low-volume businesses. They don’t have the buying power of the Big Box chains. Which is why Walmart can sell a serviceable derailleur-equipped bike for less than USD200 and your local bike shop can’t.

There is, of course, a catch. Whereas a bike bought from a good bike shop will probably have higher quality components and be assembled well, the bike you buy from Walmart may … Continue reading »