Apprentice Mechanic

My stepson Andrew was always the master bike mechanic.  He’s the kind of guy who likes to take things apart just to see how they work and if he can reassemble them without

Toe clip shot 1

Toe clip strap incorrectly installed in forward slots of pedal.

having any pieces left over.  He maintained his bikes, he fixed his bikes, he even built his bikes to a greater or lesser degree, including the Bianchi Squadra (“RoseBike”) that I now ride.

Andrew was visiting some time back, and we ended up in the garage talking about the family bike collection.  He took a look at the Trek 2.1 and said, “aren’t those toe clips on wrong”?  I am just a humble apprentice mechanic who tries to maintain my bikes and do minor routine work on them, but I thought I knew how to install toe clips, for crying out loud!  Yet when I looked at them, they obviously were on wrong.  I had never noticed.

Toe clip cages screw on the front face of a pedal with two screws inserted through two slots.  You have to pry off the reflectors to get at them.  The toe clip straps run laterally through slits in the top of the cages and then are threaded through two slots on either side

toe clip 2

Toe clip strap properly installed, keeping foot in place.

of the pedal, near the back.  After you thread the strap through the inside slot you give it a full 360° twist before threading it back out the outside slot, so that it will not slip out of place.  The buckle has to be in just the right place, against the outer side of your shoe.

Somehow or other, on two of my five bikes I had gotten the strap through the forward slots instead of the rear slots of the pedal.  The consequence was that the strap did not hold my foot firmly against the pedal because it was too far forward, not snugly and directly under the ball of my foot on the pedal.  Not only was the foot not held well in place, but also it was harder to flip the pedal over and re-insert my foot when I started up after taking my foot out when I stopped.  I’d always wondered why that maneuver was more difficult on those two bikes.

The situation, once observed, was easily remedied.  But it illustrates why some of us are still lowly apprentice mechanics.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2012.

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