There’s a bunch of wisdom to garner from the trusty wrenches at your LBS. Oftentimes you got to ask the right questions. There’s also a body of knowledge that the experience of working on hundreds of bikes, and observing bicycle trends over time that working in a shop earns a mechanic. These are some things we’d all probably agree on that may not be commonplace within the standard customer experience “shop talk”.
1. The sounds of your bike mean something, and they won’t just go away.
That’s right. Truth be told, this is the type of advice a good mechanic regularly shares with customers, but often falls on deaf ears. That hiss, pop, creak, groan, moan, squeeze, whirr, clack, tick means something. Every moveable part on your bike will make a sound if you allow it.
Things go from state of order to chaos with time. Your bike is no exception. Even if it’s not being ridden, it’s important to stay on top of maintenance. Your ears are a good gauge for when something on your bike is not right. Got a new sound on your ride and don’t know where it’s coming from? Pay attention to the conditions when you hear it, stop by a shop and have it checked out.
2. Gravel bikes aren’t a new thing.
The bike industry is a buzz of terms. Fact of the matter is, bikes haven’t really changed considerably in over a century. There’s new materials and methods for making bikes, but put your modern racer next to an old safety and the form is still verbatim.
Before gravel grinding, they were called hybrids. Before that tourers, then cyclocross, and so on. Sure, there’s little differences here and there, but no real hallmarks of revolutionary design. Interested in getting into gravel? Put bigger tires on your roadie. Grab an old Trek 520 or a Stumpjumper and put drops on it. Get an entry level cyclocross bike. Whatever. These will all roll rough stuff just fine.
3. You don’t need to buy something to enjoy riding a bike.
Feeding off the second point, it’s an important reminder that you can’t buy happiness. Both buying something and riding a bike flood the body with a cocktail of hormones. One such chemical, dopamine, gives a sensation of euphoria and bliss. It aids concentration. Its purpose is to offer your body a physical sensation as reward for accomplishment.
As we all know, when buying something this feeling is fleeting. Getting a new helmet, socks, or wheels might be a short-term boost to the motivation to get on the bike, but what really gets you itching to ride is the ride itself.