Hey there! Hopefully I'm back to blogging more frequently these days. I'm not really sure where all my time went, but a lot of it was spent on my bike, so that part's pretty good. I'm getting ready for Women's Intro Track Night at the Velodrome on Wednesday, which means taking the pedals off my bike so I can bring them along. (Remember, if you can't get yours off your bike, just bring the whole bike and they'll help you.) My normal fight with the pedal wrench reminded me that I maybe haven't given this set the care they need, hence the PSA which I will share with all of you.
I consider the number 1 Grease Rag quick fix to be
PUT SOME GREASE ON IT!
Always true? Of course not. But it reminds me of the old guideline "if it moves and it shouldn't, use duct tape. If it doesn't and it should, use WD-40."
Keep in mind that WD-40 is not really a bike-friendly lubricant. Not so healthy for chains. And I recommend wrenches over duct tape for most bike repairs. But the advice kinda sorta still holds.
There are a few bike parts that need regular grease or lubrication. The chain is a more obvious one. Someone at Grease Rag may have already told you about seatposts: take 'em out, wipe 'em down, and apply more grease at least once a year. Seatposts do get stuck and sometimes can't be unstuck, so a little TLC is important. The same thing applies to pedals as well! My guess is that these are even more frequently overlooked. I'm reminded every time I try to take them off. Pedals tighten themselves as you're riding--a Very Good Thing--but it means it can be hard, hard, hard to take them off. Harder, or impossible, if they haven't been occasionally removed, cleaned, and greased. Someone once broke a vise at Grease Rag while trying to remove a pedal from a recently-acquired, previously-neglected bike.
Pedals are sized to use a 15 mm wrench. There are special pedal wrenches that fit well into the gap between the pedal and the crankarm, so if you're having trouble and still using a regular 15 mm wrench, you may be more successful with the tool specifically designed for the job (translation: come to Grease Rag). And the threading is different on the right and the left. One is like a normal screw, the other is backwards. To loosen, you want to turn the wrench toward the back of the bike.
So my pedals are off, there was only a moderate amount of jumping up and down and contorting myself to find the best angle for holding the cranks in place and moving the wrench, and it looks like things are good to go for Wednesday. And I will remember not to tighten them too much when I put them back on, since they will keep tightening as I go.
What other things do you find important to grease frequently? Feel free to chime in with any other parts in the comments!