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Professional Tweaks, Tips & Reviews By "AJ" Picarello
I hope you find my Tweaks and Tips section helpful. If there is something you want to know about, send me an email and I will try to add that to one of my upcoming articles.

I was once a boy who loved to wrench for free. Now I can say I’m a man who gets paid to do what he loves. Some things are just meant to be. I am a bicycle repair person. After a routine physical, my doctor looked at my hands and asked: “have you been to war?”



As far back as I can remember I worked on my own bike. I was fortunate to grow up around tools, but as far as I’m concerned, I would have become a bicycle racer and mechanic whether I had tools at my disposal or not.

My bikes were always dialed in perfectly. I would take meticulous care of my bike and even polish between my spokes. My handlebars were aligned straight, my brakes worked and I never had a loose headset. I lived for riding and no mechanical problem was going to stop me. I even had custom painted frames, thanks to my dad. The freakiest being a copper color from a 1965 Riviera.

At a very young age I could completely strip down a bike and build it back up by myself. I accumulated tools from birthdays and holidays. One year for Christmas I got my tool box. Bow around it and all!

My father would have eventually helped me, but I had no patients for down time. Riding my bike aggressively caused many mechanical problems. Learning to jump is a painful process on both body and bike. If I wanted to ride everyday, I needed to learn to wrench.

Recently, this got me thinking. Kid’s always want to work for the shop. They almost always have no experience and can’t even change a tire. I have trained employees from scratch only to find out they truly do not like working on bikes. Where are the kids that love a challenge like truing a wheel with frozen spoke nipples or who polishes between a frames bottom bracket with a smile on his face?

Fact is; the style of biking we enjoy so much takes its toll on your machine. Your bike will be in need for constant repair. Unless you’re willing to learn the ins and outs of bike repair, then expect down time do to mechanicals. Most people use the excuse that they don’t have time to work on their own bike, but most repairs are simple and can be made trail side with a multi tool.

Modern stunt riding requires your bike be adjusted perfectly. Your bike is guaranteed to fail at a weak link. Do not put off repairs. If you’re unable to repair your own bike, then bring it to a professional shop for servicing. Keep a keen eye on all your bikes components, including your frame. Check for simple things like loose spokes or cracks on the frame or wheels. Creaks and groans coming from your bike are a sign of worse things to come.

If you think you’re destined to work for a bike shop, ask yourself this: Are you the kid that repaired his friend’s bike just to have someone to ride with? Do you bring your bike on vacations with you and all the tools necessary to repair it while you’re there? Has Santa ever brought you cone wrenches? Do you have a picture of yourself doing a “Miami Hopper” in front of Disney’s Epcot ball?

I was once a boy who loved to wrench for free. Now I can say I’m a man who gets paid to do what he loves. Some things are just meant to be. I am a bicycle repair person. After a routine physical, my doctor looked at my hands and asked: “have you been to war?”


6 Updates


Yes, my hands are dirty. Yes, i washed them. Yes, i used soap, I scrubbed them with Gojo and a chain brush for 20 minutes. No, they will never be clean... ever.

Wear your callus with pride, few ever achieve the strength and dexterity of a skilled mechanic's hand.

Update from: KevBurns [Visitor] · — 09/05/06 @ 01:44
"ITS WHAT YOU LEARN AFTER YOU KNOW IT ALL THAT COUNTS". This quote is hanging in my office at work. Its been quite useful to me. I see it every day. I hope someone else can take away as much as I have from it.

Update from: Gordon [Visitor] — 09/18/06 @ 02:54
Hahaha, YESSS. That sounds so much like me. I started my bike mechanics early too, now I also get paid to do what I love. Isn't it great! I work at the Balsams Grand Resort in New Hampshire where I maintain a fleet of specialized and I also get paid to maintain 39 miles worth of sweet bike trails. Bike Hard man, its the only way.

Update from: Blake [Visitor] — 10/05/06 @ 23:22
Wow sounds just like me. I just thought i was wierd cause i like to get chain grease all over my hands

so do my parents

Update from: Nik aka the dirty grease monkey [Visitor] — 10/26/06 @ 02:08
Dude, the doctor was right...your hands are seriously fugly! But I wouldn't let any other work on my bike.

Update from: Matt K [Visitor] — 11/06/06 @ 14:29
I work on cars all day ,love to work on my bikes at night

Update from: John [Visitor] — 02/13/08 @ 21:08

You are not authorized to write a update.

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