It's easy to be a bike to work day hero and to improve the ride for many bike commuters.
On Bike to Work Day, I grab my bike pump, chain lube and a few simple adjustment tools
and ride down to my local bike trail or energizer station.
There, I join the fun and set up shop to do quick tire top-offs, chain lubes and bike adjustments for passing riders.
Step 1: Gather a Few Simple Tools and Parts
I bring just the basic tools and parts:
Floor Pump with Schreader valve for most tires
Presta Pump for the other tires
Chain lubes (they vary with preference of rider)
Crescent wrench (aka universal nut rounder)
Channel locks (aka nut knurler) to adjust loose headsets
A couple of rags
But you could also add:
Cone wrenches to adjust loose hubs
Bottom Bracket tools to adjust loose BBs and tighten loose cranks
And if you want to go in depth you could add:
Patch kit and tire irons
Spare bolts for attaching loose racks, etc
Cable clippers for trimming broken cable housing
Grease for lubing crusty cables
Spare brake cable housing and spare cable
Step 2: Mostly I Put a Little More Fresh Air in Tires.
Inflating their tires to the right level makes the ride:
More efficient (easier and more repeatable for the riders)
More safe with better bike control
More flat-tire resistant
And it makes the riders feel appreciated.
I tell them I'm packing a little more spring air into their ride.
I just look at the tire sidewall for desired pressure range and use my calibrated fingers to check pressure.
But you could bring a pressure gauge.
Step 3: I Also Oil a Lot of Chains
She looks happier already.
She will be able to hear the birds chirping instead of her chain chirping.
I just apply a thin thread of oil to the top of chain while spinning cranks backward.
Takes 10 seconds and has no overflow.
Then I squeeze the chain with a rag and drag the chain backward through the rag
by spinning the cranks backward to wipe off any excess oil.
Step 4: Ham It Up for Fun and Comfort
Crazed "Bike doctor" attempting to detonate tire.
I like to riff with my "clients" to amuse us both and relax them as I show them bike maintenance tips.
We have a great time.
I also can quickly show them what to look for and how to tell when they need more air or oil.
Step 5: Pencil Pusher on Her Way to Work
Actually, a bunch of our riders enjoyed taking turns test riding Ellen's Pencil Bike https://www.instructables.com/id/Pencil-Bike/
They were enthused about art bikes.
Step 6: National Bike to Work Day
National BTWD celebrates and encourages bike commuting and occurs on May 17, 2013.
Information on it can be found here: http://www.bike2work-day.com/
Here in California we celebrate ours on the second Thursday in May. (e.g. May 9, 2013)
We set up morning "Energizer Stations" sponsored by various employers to provide snacks, support, encouragement, information, swag, coupons, etc to passing cyclists on their morning commutes from 6:30 AM to 9 AM.
At our local station we also provide the bike pit-stop mini maintenance services described in this instructable. Picture a mellow, jovial, low pressure NASCAR pitstop.
At the table we provide coffeecake, coffee, oranges, bananas, canvas bags, coupons, bike maps, bike raffle entry, pleasant conversation, and asked each rider our question for this year: "What do you like best and least about bike commuting?"
The riders like to share their experience, opinions and ideas.
We jot down the answers and send them to the city transportation department and the county bike advocacy organization.
Step 7: Do I Have to Sign Up First?
You can just grab your tools and show up.
Show up and volunteer to be the helpful fixer.
We accept unsolicited volunteers at our station each year
as they see the fun and community building that occurs.
It's not just for BTWD.
Just bring your tools to any community event that has some noticeable bike usage
such as local farmers' markets, repair cafe events http://repaircafe.org/ , Maker Faires, Environmental themed events,
and anything with bike valet parking. Just arrive and talk to the event organizer and offer what you can do to enhance the
experience for the bike riders.
Of course, you can also contact organizers before the event and show them a link to this instrucable to explain what you are offering.
Step 8: Added Value: Ergonomic Bike Adjustment
One more valuable service for the new bike commuter is helping fit their bike to them.
It only takes a minute or two for each ball park adjustment listed below.
1) I Adjust seats up to the right height
(Hips level on seat, leg straight with one heel on pedal while crank is aligned with seat tube)
Seat too high leads to hips rocking on the seat. Too low and the legs don't work well and get sore.
2) I adjust seats to right fore and aft on the seat rails. (KOPS Kneecap Over Pedal Spindle)
3) Adjust stem height for rider preference. (How much hunch in your crunch?)
4) Then we can adjust seat tilt to manage the seat/crotch pressure zone location to personal preference.
Note: adjustments 2, 3 and 4 interact distributing weight between the seat and bars (aka crotch and hands)
5) Adjust bar twist to allow for a relaxed (PDIP pinkies down if possible) position. Easy on the wrists, palms and carpels.
6) Rotate brake levers into easily reachable bar location so fingers have short path to reach them.
Step 9: Just for Fun, I Also Promote Push Your Car to Work Day
Sure, those cyclists have it easy on Bike to work Day.
Now its time for us Committed Car Commuters to have our turn showing that we too can use human power
to propel our beloved vehicles from home to work in less than one day.
I'm an equal opportunity helper.
So for anyone pushing their car to work on BTWD, I will gladly pump up their tires and adjust their car seat if needed.
Just considering human-powering your car to work vs. human-powering your bike to work drives home the fundamental fact that cars take A LOT of energy to move around. We can save a lot of energy by leaving them at home more often.