Students discuss bike maintenance

Brian Ohlen  spends his days getting his hands dirty as a coordinator at the Cycle Learning Center. Most weekdays, Ohlen can be found changing flat tires, adjusting faulty brakes and helping students understand how to take properly care for their bicycles.

“We do offer maintenance classes. Once a semester we offer four classes that teach you how to do that kind of stuff,” Ohlen said.

According to Ohlen, basic bicycle maintenance skills are easily taught to those who prefer to get around town on two wheels.

“If you are comfortable using tools and are competent about how things work, it is not a hard thing to learn and we can teach you,” Ohlen said. “We also can do impromptu lessons. So if someone comes in, we can help.”

Ohlen pointed out equipment like bike stands and wrenches that are made available for students who are in the process of learning or who are already experts at the art of bicycle maintenance.

When students bring bikes into the Cycle Learning Center, Ohlen and staff can fix any glaring problems while determining potential mechanical issues.

“For us to diagnose stuff and look at it, it’s always quick, free and easy to do,” Ohlen said.

Ohlen recently sat down with The Arbiter to give a complete overview of what students should be doing to ensure their bicycles are able to speed down the streets of Boise for years to come.

  • Chains/gears:Clicking and strange noises while riding can be caused by lubrication issues. Make sure bike chains and gears are oiled regularly for best performance.
  • Tires:Keep tires inflated properly and make sure tubes are within the proper pounds per square inch (PSI) range. Owning thicker, puncture resistant tires and tubes help keep flats to a minimum.
  • Breaks:Check brakes frequently to ensure enough distance for stopping. Loose brake handles means lines need to be tightened and adjusted properly.
  • Seat:Choosing the correct bike depends on each style of riding. Thinner seats ensure comfortability over a long distance while thicker seats are better for shorter rides.
  • Lock:The U-lock design is the most effective against bike theft. Chain locks are easily broken using bolt cutters making a chained bike an easy target.
  • Lights:Idaho law requires cyclists to have a light on the front end and a reflector on back end of bicycles. Lights ensure motorists can see cyclists during night hours.

About the author  ⁄ Ryan Thorne

Ryan Thorne

Ryan Thorne was born and raised in the beautiful city of Twin Falls, Idaho. He now lives in Boise where he enjoys being a student at Boise State University. As the Investigative News editor, Thorne is always hot on the trail of the next big story. In his free time, he can be found playing the guitar, reading, or exploring scenic outdoor Idaho. Follow him on Twitter @ryanthorne86 or friend him on Facebook.