Can you take your bike apart and put it back together?
Taking a bike apart is no feat. Any idiot with opposable thumbs and a set of Allen keys could get pretty far and easily finish the job with an axe. The same goes with a space shuttle, I imagine. Putting it back together is the tricky part, but I raced as an amateur long enough that I could manage anything outside of the spokes/nipples,* and whatever scary bearings explode out of the bottom bracket and the hubs. I think most bike racers are about the same.
Things have changed now that I’m an awesome Euro-pro, because we have mechanics to work on bikes for us.
The moment I signed a contract with Garmin-Sharp, a little corner of my brain died and I lost all ability to clean or fix my bike. The other day, I tried to change the bar tape and wash the mud off my Cervélo, and I nearly died. Friends found me wrapped up with the tape like a mummy, half-choked by the chain, and I don’t even want to tell you where the seatpost was jammed. Lesson learned. Next time I have something to fix on the bike, I’ll handle it like I’ve seen my new teammates do on TV: I’ll chuck it over a guardrail and demand a new one.
* Pretty much made up this question because I wanted to use “nipples” in a column.
Ask a Pro answers every question you’ve always wanted to ask about pro cycling. Recently retired pro cyclist Phil Gaimon gathers the absolute gems from his monthly Q&A feature column in VeloNews magazine into Ask a Pro and adds a dose of fresh commentary and even more acerbic and sharp-eyed insights.
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