If you’re going to be a serious bike commuter, you need the right tools. Your toolbox should have these basic tools:
- Hex keys
- Combination wrenches
- Cable cutters
- Compact Scissors
- Screw driver
- Chain checker
- Chain tool
- Spoke wrench
Of course, not everyone has time to learn how to fix everything on their bike. Yeah, they should. But we can’t expect everyone to learn how to be a bike mechanic. If you’re one of those people, you need to find a good bike shop with a few good mechanics. There’s no shame in letting a professional take care of your bike. I do all the work on my bike myself, so I don’t go to bike shops unless I need a part or a tool, so here’s a list of the best bike shops in Jacksonville, according to what my friends tell me:
- Bicycles Etc.
- Performance Bicycle
- LakeShore Bicycles
How to Know When Your Bike Needs Fixing
Ok, so this should be obvious. Seat post breaks? Take your bike to the shop. Shatter a pedal on a curb? Take your bike to the shop. Snap the chain? Take the bike to the shop. But sometimes you might have other, less obvious issues.
Bike feels “slow” or “sluggish”. If you’re pedaling hard and feeling like you’re going nowhere, that could be because the chain is stretched out, which means you need a new one. A worn-out chain wears down the sprockets, which mean you’ll need a new cassette. And that ain’t cheap.
Brakes aren’t working efficiently. If the brakes work but only after you squeeze them really hard, they need a tune-up. You might also need new brake pads.
Derailleur-in-spokes catastrophes: If the derailleur gets pushed into the spokes, that’s lights out for your bike ride.