Category Archives: Bike Maintenance & Repair

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

Got You Covered! The Many Virtues of Rain Covers, Even on Dry Rides

Unless your bike’s handlebar bag and panniers are really, truly waterproof — and maybe even if they are — rain covers are worth the added weight and bulk, especially on grocery runs. Here’s why.

by Tamia Nelson | May 23, 2015

While some bike panniers and handlebar bags come with rain covers, others do not, and that’s too bad. Rain covers do more than keep your gear dry. They also…

Keep your load light.  Unless your bags are made from truly waterproof fabric, with sealed seams and bombproof closures (mine aren’t), a hard shower can add pounds of water weight to your load.

Keep your stuff clean.  A surprising amount of road dust finds its way into unprotected panniers and handlebar bags, even when you’re riding on asphalt.

Help keep your stuff cool.  Light, bright colors reflect sunlight. Dark colors absorb it, turning your bags into mini-ovens. Light is right. On tours, your electronics and chocolate bars will thank you for caring. And if you’re making a grocery run, the food won’t be cooked … 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.

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!

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

Verloren Hoop Colophon - (c) and TM Tamia Nelson/Verloren Hoop ProductionsContinue 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

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 bikes come without any pedals fitted, requiring that you fit
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 2, 2019

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 not … Continue reading »