Cyclists Get Empowered at Campus Recreation

a collage of bicycle parts played out in different areas
a collage of bicycle parts played out in different areas
Ana Can

Campus Recreation hosted the Fix Your Ride (FYR) Workshop for all students and community members to embrace basic knowledge about bicycle repairs on Friday, March 1, 2024. The FYR Workshop was intended for individuals to learn about different methods of bicycle maintenance, such as adjusting brakes, replacing tubes and tires and patching holes in the tires.

The creation of the workshop originated when Keith Zhan, graduate assistant overseeing the Outdoor Adventure Program (OAP) operations, witnessed many community members riding bikes and how many people who live at the Nest have bikes.

“I wanted to learn how different people do maintenance on their bikes,” said Josue Morales, bicycle owner and undergraduate in Music Education, “I have a little knowledge about how to do it myself, but I just wanted to see if I can learn a few new things from other people.”

A Campus Recreation staffer hoisted a bicycle on a bike repair stand during the Fix Your Ride Workshop in order to perform maintenance on a bicycle at standing up height in the Auxiliary Gymnasium of the P.E. Complex (Ananth Prabhu)

The task of taking care of a bicycle is not an outrageously difficult task. According to Zhan, “Paying someone to adjust your brakes could be like $20 or that could be something that you do in two minutes.”

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Paying for bicycle repairs could be financially taxing while doing it yourself could be less burdensome. For example, after getting a flat tire and going to a bike shop, “they could charge somewhere from $10 to switching to replacing your flat to maybe even $5 but then you have to buy the tube and everything so it adds up,” Zhan said. “It could be like $20 for those brakes.”

Numerous issues could arise and cost estimates vary by bike shop, “It could be a bunch of different things when it comes to brakes,” Zhan said.

According to Zhan, bikes come in a variety of styles, such as geared and non-geared bicycles.  “If you have a geared bike, [there] could be something wrong with your actual shifters or the cable management,” Zhan said. “It’s a pain in the butt, [and] it’s expensive, but it’s something that you can learn too and not be expensive.”

Other maintenance includes cleaning the bike chain, “If you don’t clean it, you know all your gears will wear down and then that will wear down your components and then you could have to replace that sooner.” One thing that Morales learned is “there’s the way these guys [patch tires] is like they set like the patch glue on first and right away [apply the] patch.”

When it comes to finding parts for bicycle maintenance, Zhan is a proponent of supporting local bicycle shops. “I’ve told a few people that they should just go to their local bike shops if they can to get parts and stuff and build a relationship to help them maintain their business and also just build that lifelong relationship,” Zhan said. He only recommends specific bicycle shops if “they have good reputation,” and he has personally paid them a visit, but then again, the experience “could be varied from person to person,” Zhan said.

Bicycling in urban environments may have several threats, such as distracted or aggressive drivers, pedestrians, construction zones, dooring, potholes, uneven pavement, intersection hazards, blind spots, lack of protected bike lanes, low visibility and a variety of other roadway hazards. Morales said that he sees the biggest threat to any bike rider would be potholes because “depending on how much air pressure you have on your tires, [it] could blow up, and then you’re falling.” He admitted that the second biggest threat would be distracted pedestrians. 

When asked if Morales feels vehicular threat or danger as a bike commuter, he responded, “I do not because I wear the proper [safety equipment]. I’m pretty happy with the bike world and where it’s taking me.” 

After asking whether Morales felt better equipped to ride his bicycle in the city, Morales responded, “I do when it comes to getting a flat, [I] feel a little more confident in doing it myself.” “[However,] I would need to buy myself tire levers and get a patch kit,” Morales admitted.

Morales’ last remarks for fellow bicycle riders are “Just ride safe and make sure you have good knowledge of how to repair your bike.”  

Zhan’s last remark for bicycle owners is to “feel free to come by OAP during our open hour even if it’s for climbing; bring your bike in; I wouldn’t mind helping you out then,” Zhan said, “It’s outdoor adventure, so anything related to outdoor [is fine].”

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