My Road Bike

Bike upgrades: My DIY efforts saved me hundreds of dollars

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I love my road bike. It’s a 2002 Cannondale r900si. It’s lightweight, beautiful and made in the USA. I bought it used a few years ago, and rode it for about 20 minutes in 2013.

At the time, Ryan and I were riders for Team in Training, which is a fundraising branch of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Our goal was to raise donations and enter into America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, a 100-mile ride that happens every year at Lake Tahoe. I borrowed a friend’s road bike while I looked for my own. The Cannondale needed a tune-up; it was sitting at home while I was on a solo ride on my friend’s bike when a car swerved into the bike lane and forced me off the road. I landed on my hand and sprained my hand and wrist.

The recovery took several weeks, and I was forced to drop out of training. Then I just kept getting injured over and over doing little things at work and at home, both in that hand, the other one, my elbows, my knees…finally, a year later, the doctors figured out I have a joint condition.

At this point I had not done any riding for nearly a year. I’d gotten in my 20 minutes and that was it. In 2014 I purchased an electric bike, which allowed me to ride again. At first I needed lots of braces and Tylenol, but I gradually got stronger.

I never gave up on my Cannondale, though. Over time I spoke with a few bike repair shops to see if there was a way to change the bike so I could ride it again. Sure, they said. For $300 in parts and labor, and of course there was no guarantee that it would be comfortable enough for riding. So I kept waiting, holding on to the Cannondale.

I finally feel strong enough to ride a road bike, but it still needed the upgrades. I decided that I would attempt them myself.

I’ve never done any type of repair or maintenance before. Ryan always helped me, or I took it to a shop. But I wanted to do this on my own. I did a lot of research, ordered some parts, and gave it a try. And I filmed it.

It worked! I did the upgrades myself. There was just one snag: I wasn’t able to tighten the stem enough myself to keep it from wobbling on the fork. Ryan tried to help me, and the bolt got stuck. I did some more research and people talked about cutting the frame to get the bolt out…yikes! I couldn’t even ride the bike somewhere to get it fixed, because the bolt got trapped with the handlebars removed. I worried my bike was at the end of its life.

Nearly in tears, I called a mobile bike repair shop. They came out, fixed everything, and charged me only $45. It was money well-spent. The technicians were very nice, and I would definitely call them again. For anyone interested and in the area, they’re called Las Vegas Mobile Bike Repair.

Anyway, this is my first set of “talkie” videos. Typically I keep the sound off, because I want the videos to be about what you see. You don’t need to hear my voice or see me to figure out our other videos. But that isn’t the case when you’re trying to explain the work you’re doing on a bike.

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