Bikes are magical—until they don’t work. So every year, Bike New York’s fleet of around 500 bicycles is roused from its winter hibernation for a tune-up, right before classes begin. Even if it’s routine, this is a daunting task: broken parts need replacing, wheels need truing, bearings and brakes need adjusting, seatposts and pedals need greasing, and tires need inflating.
However, after several years of use, more drastic measures need to be taken—which is why this year’s tuneup isn’t so much routine maintenance as it is an overhaul. We’re also replacing all cables and housing, re-greasing and replacing bearings, and completely changing out parts so worn we have trouble properly adjusting them season after season. And in what is perhaps the most dramatic change, our mechanic team is replacing each pedal with one designed around a quick-release mechanism: instead of needing a wrench and a trained/experienced feel for threading pedals into cranks, all it takes to remove the pedal and install it is one hand and a couple of seconds. This may sound insignificant, but for our bike education department, this is nothing short of revolutionary.