In-Depth Project 2022: Introductory Post

Hello! In this post, I’ll be discussing my In-Depth Project! This post will be answering the following questions/points (the main elements of my contract): what, when, why and how, mentor, process, and timeline. In short, an introduction!

What my chosen skill is.

My chosen skill is bike maintenance! I will be operating on bikes and learning about how they work and how to maintain them, as a bike mechanic would.

Over this past summer, I dabbled a little bit in bike maintenance. I took out books from the library and learned how bicycle brakes work. Now, through this project, I will be diving more in-depth into learning this skill.

When?

From now until the end of May this year, I will be dedicating several hours each week to this project. My first meeting with my mentor will be this Friday, which is very exciting, as I am planning to get started learning some basic bike maintenance skills during the meeting!

Why have you chosen to learn this skill? 

I have chosen to learn bike maintenance for multiple reasons.

In my “Self-Directed Learning Contract,” I stated these reasons. They are summed up below:

WHY I WANT TO LEARN BIKE MAINTENANCE FOR IN-DEPTH

I will enjoy riding my bike more because it will work better,

I can fix my family’s bikes so we can go bike-riding together,

I will be able to keep up this independent, green, freedom-filled lifestyle more easily–the joy of cycling!

It will be an added skill to my repertoire, and a very useful one,

I trust learning bike mechanics will be super cool and interesting, to know all the different parts well, how they work together!

It will be a fun, interesting, and exciting experience to learn this hands-on skill from my mentor!

Bike maintenance, in my eyes, is not only going to be interesting to learn but will also be a useful skill for me. To illustrate, I usually bike to school. However, one of the brakes on my bike needs maintenance that I have not yet learned, so last week I was not able to bike to school. Thus, if I learn this skill, it will be very useful and will help me keep up this lifestyle of biking as a form of transportation (and biking for fun).

To be honest, bike maintenance is a skill that is out of my comfort zone to learn/choose for this project. Thinking about it, I am surprised myself that I would choose such a skill–it is super hands-on, and most would not expect someone like me to wish to learn it. Yet, that is exactly why I have chosen it. This will be an interesting journey, completely new and out-of-the-box for me–all the more reason to dive right into it!

How are you going to learn this skill?

I am planning to learn bike maintenance with the help of my mentor and several other resources. In each meeting with my mentor, I will go to his bike shop/garage, where I will learn a couple of bike maintenance sub-skills. Then, I will go home to my makeshift bike shop and apply what I learned to the bikes my family has.

My family has four bikes in the shed. Each one is older than it is new, and has not been ridden in a while because it needs maintenance. I am planning to use those bikes to learn this skill, and I hope that through this project I will be able to fix them to rideability again too!

The other resources I can consult, apart from my mentor, include the books I got from the library over the summer (I might end up buying them too). There are also many websites online that teach the skill. Here are a few that I have in mind:

While dabbling in the skill over the summer, I also came across several YouTube channels with videos that will be useful, including “Global Cycling Network” and “Park Tool.”

Here is my ‘timeline’:

First mentor meeting (out of 10 meetings): learn about basic bike maintenance, including two sub-skills to apply to bikesNo later than January 31st, 2022
Finish learning 2 new sub-skills (from my mentor, will take one to two meetings) and apply them to bikesNo later than Sunday, February 13th, 2022
Learn 2 more new sub-skills, apply to bikesNo later than Sunday, March 6th, 2022
2 more, apply to bikesNo later than Sunday, March 27th, 2022
2 more, apply to bikesNo later than Sunday, April 17th, 2022
2 more, apply to bikesNo later than Sunday, May 8th, 2022
Time to undertake my rigorous test/ my challenge and finalize learning for In-Depth NightIn-Depth Night: Monday, May 30th, 2022

Some questions I’d like to find answers to:

  • Are those bikes in our shed ever going to be rideable again? Can I fix them?
  • What does a good bike owner need to do regularly (every ride, every day, every month, every year) to maintain their bike properly?
  • What are the monetary costs associated with bike ownership and bike maintenance for me?
  • Is bike maintenance hard and a lot of trouble? Or is it a skill that I can learn to some degree and apply to my life?
  • How to rewire and change brakes of different types (cantilever, V-brake)?
  • How to adjust gears?
  • What are all the different nuts and bolts on a bike and how does the bike mechanic work with them?
  • Do I have the tools to carry out bike maintenance on my own? What are they?

Process:

My goal is to apply ten bike maintenance/repair techniques to the four bikes we have in our shed. To demonstrate my learning, I will be posting photos and videos in each blog post of what I have done to each bike and the skills I have learned. My challenge for myself is to take all the parts of a bike apart, fix them, then put them back together, to improve the condition of the bike. This will serve as a demonstration of my learning.

To achieve this goal and challenge, here are my action-oriented objectives:

  1. Make a list of at least ten different bike maintenance sub-skills I will learn in-depth/thoroughly and check them all off by the end of the project.
  2. Learn the basic bike maintenance skills needed to fix/maintain the current problems on my bike (e.g., brake problems, gears need adjustment) so that I may go for a bike ride where those problems are solved. Do this by spring.
  3. Apply ten bike maintenance techniques (or, if I find that to be a strange form of measurement later, apply the process of what a bike mechanic would do, in an in-depth manner) to the four bikes in our shed by the end of the project.
  4. Go on one bike ride where I note the initial condition of a bike. Next, apply bike maintenance skills to the bike. Finally, go on another bike ride where the bike’s condition is elevated from its initial state.
  5. Gain the knowledge to confidently offer a friend or family member tips to better the condition of their bike.
  6. Gain the knowledge and confidence (through previous practice) to fix one minor issue on another’s bike.

My next steps right now, before my meeting with my mentor on Friday, are to: make a little agenda for our meeting, think about a budget for this project, and sort out possible future mentor meeting dates.

Mentor:

I am very lucky to have a professional bike mechanic in the community to be my mentor. He is a volunteer for KidSport, as a bike mechanic. I met him one day when I was biking home–he was offering free bike maintenance on behalf of HUB Cycling (a local non-profit organization advocating cycling). I think it is great that I can make a connection such as this with my community.

I am ready to get started and will be back very shortly to post on my progress!

Until then,

Anita

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