The process of fettling a bicycle is a discipline and a huge pleasure for me. It takes the form of a three step dance in my head, and starts with the riders telling us whats wrong, or what need to be altered in the discovery of their riding.
For instance, if we get a description of a shift that won’t stay put, or starts to “hunt’ once its selected, the first thing that clicks in my head, is to verify the condition. When does it happen, what triggers the change in performance ? So I trace the problem, and separate the components. Is it a shifter difficulty? A cable or housing problem, or, is the derailleur or its hanger bent or sticking? In my head, these component groups are circuits, and I separate each system into circuits to test and find the culprit.
The second step is not intuitive, to me. I instinctively want to fix the problem, and get back on the road. So, the discipline comes along and says “ well, that’s weird… why’d that happen? Will it happen again? What should you do to eliminate that odd behavior, and have it stay away?”. Love that discipline.,a side benefit of that Jesuit education, I guess… So I learned to look back, once we find the problem. Look for the cause before the repair continues, so I can see the clues. Sometimes a part just fails, but not always. Most time, if you care to look, the cause and its effect are right there, looking at you. If a difficulty repeats, its because the cause is still lurking, going for each ride, and springing up just at the wrong time.
Once I can see the condition is taken care of, the third part of the dance is to verify the result. Here in the shop, we test on the stand, and then on the road. If the weather is really kicking up, on the trainer we go, to test under load. The side benefit to our customer is that we can give another perspective on the function of the collection of systems on your machine. Do they feel “right”? A really great benefit of being here at Belgianwerkx is that when I get to a point where I just can’t see the clues, Nick will sail up to the problem, and blow it out of the water. Another step in my education…
Bill Dredge and his bride Karen are Mequon residents, along with lots of pets, including an obnoxious parrot named Harry. Two grown kids have moved away (we still love’m), leaving room for the trainer and a bike indoors. Cycling and mechanic-ing began as a means to earn a living, delivering newspapers at the crack of dawn in grade school, racing when time permitted. Bill is also involved in historic racing automobiles, and rowing on the Milwaukee River.