The results are in. My goal at keeping the bike repair poll open for three days was to try to reach 100 respondents. Final n: 108.
There’s a nice split between those who do basic maintenance, such as replacing tubes and chain lubing, and those who are more sophisticated and do the work on their hubs and bottom bracket. Here are the results:
(Click to embiggen.)
This, of course, is not a scientific poll, since the respondents were not selected at random. Therefore, the results cannot be generalized beyond this poll.
The consensus seems to be that wrenching is not something to be afraid of. The tools are simple, the mechanics of a bike are straightforward, and there’s plenty of online material — especially videos — to get you going.
Just as I started the poll I ran into a dilemma that required a trip to the bike shop. I was switching out the pedals from my bike to my friend David’s steel bike, but the left side pedal on mine was stuck fast. No amount of pulling with an Allen wrench would get that pedal to budge. I explained the problem to the bike shop guy, who took out a monster pedal wrench and freed it up. In this case, it was not a matter of not knowing how to do the job, or being skittish about doing the job — it was about having the right tool for the job.
So the next maintenance chore I’ll face on my bike will be to replace the chain and rear cassette. It’s not something I need to do right away — the bike is still shifting acceptably — but I’ve gotten more use out of both than I have any right to. I’ll acquire the tools for the job, and tackle it with confidence after reading some of the comments from you folks. Thanks for your participation.
I’m planning another poll along similar but different lines in the near future.