As a mechanically-minded shop, we're often being asked what people can do to make their bikes run better. (Facetious answer: bring them to us. Let us make them good.)
However, people don't seem to ask what they should do to completely stuff their bikes up. So we're going to tell you. And, yes, these are all things we have actually witnessed.
Behold our wisdom!
If you don't have any actual chain oil, just use whatever you can find. Linseed oil is a great option, with fish oil as a handy back-up. As a bonus, your drivetrain will hardly make any noise because of all the extra gummy padding, and your bike mechanic will love you forever.
Refreshing your fork lowers and don't have any of the recommended fluid on hand? Fill 'em with olive oil instead. How much of a problem can it be?
Don't worry about replacing your worn brake pads; you'll go faster without them. As a side bonus, disc brakes start to work again once the piston works its way through the backing plate.
If something during your home mechanics goes wrong, it can be fixed by putting a piece of electrical tape over it.
Some cracks in carbon are purely structural and designed to increase the frame's integrity. Other cracks actually make you faster. If they're bothering you, though, they too can be fixed with a piece of electrical tape.
You don't care that caked-on grime and dirt is going to chew through your groupset in record time; you can dry your eyes with thousand-dollar bills and go and buy some more stuff.
Drivetrain acting up? You can: a) leave it until you can't change any gears whatsoever, then dump your bike in front of us and say, "Fix it!"; or b) fiddle with the derailleur screws until you can't change any gears whatsoever, then dump your bike in front of us and say, "Fix it!" while denying that you fiddled with it.
If you want to be proactive and the squealing of your brakes is driving you nuts, just spray the rotors with WD40. No more friction = ah, silent bicycle!
A high-pressure hose will clean your bike extremely well -- inside and out! Make sure you aim it hard at your forks to get water past the seals.
Are your spokes incredibly tight but you just want to give them a bit of extra 'oomph'? Then you're going to need a bigger set of vice grips!
Never pump up your tyres. The more pot-holes you hit, the more customised your rims become, which is awesome and impressive. Also, if it's harder to pedal, you burn more calories.
Do you hear a rattle, creak, or odd noise? There's an easy fix: turn up your iPhone. If you ignore the noise, it will go away by itself eventually.
Is your drivetrain worn? Are your cranks cactus? Then just replace the chain...and only the chain. Sure, it won't really work properly, and you'll wear it out in ten seconds because the other components will eat it alive, but it makes economic sense to replace one component a bunch of times than a whole bunch of components at once, doesn't it? (It does; we spoke about economics to a guy at a party once.)
Rust is merely a natural part of the life cycle of metal, and should be embraced.
Have you had a spectacular crash and bled all over your bike? Don't worry about cleaning it up! We love handling other people's blood, because it makes us feel like CSI: Bike Mechanic.
We wish we were kidding, but this has happened more than once.
Triathletes, did you know that the residue from sports drinks and power gels will give you extra grip if you ever need to cling to the top tube in an emergency? Well, now you do.
By never, ever replacing your handlebar tape or grips, you will always have a handy salt lick which could save your life if you become marooned in Fox Creek and can't find the winery.
A coloured tyre is far more important than one with grip or durability. Do the other guys in your art collective care if you get five times the mileage out of a black tyre? No, they do not.
Brooks saddles are supposed to have character. Waxing removes this character. Do not wax your Brooks. Ever.
If you love the distressed French provincial look (and who doesn't?) a similar effect can be achieved by leaving your bike outside in the rain for several months. Voila! You will be the toast of the café set. Très bien!
If you've been hit by a car, make sure to Instagram your face before calling an ambulance. We're pretty sure it counts as legal evidence.
Thanks for your massive effort in retrieving the internal cabling on the Ridley. It's a job I would never have been able to do myself, and I cringe with embarrassment to think of the three of you working on the one bike for an hour to get it done. [BMCR: That's what we're here for…Karim Soetratma