Bike Repairs for Summer Tourists, Summer Residents, and Year-Round Residents in the Eastern UP

Learning never really stops around here (every single person who works at Woods & Waters seems to be driven by a never ending curiosity), but sometimes we pursue a more structured understanding of a particular topic. This past off-season had the goal of expanding our knowledge base surrounding bike repairs. Although we've offered bike repairs since we opened, with the construction of the Peek-A-Boo Trails in 2024 by Traction Trailworx, we knew we needed to prepare ourselves for more bicyclists visiting the Les Cheneaux to check out this new trail system. More bicyclists means the higher likelihood of someone needing a replacement tube, a tune-up, upgraded platform pedals, headset tightening, rear derailleur adjustment, or simply wanting some "retail therapy" related to their passion. 

First up in October, Sue wandered down to Asheville, NC for a 5-day bike immersion course offered by Jenny Kallista at the Appalachian Bike Institute (often called ABI). Sue is not a bike gear head or bike nerd. She's someone who looks at a bike as something with two wheels and is fun to ride. She calls parts of the bike "thingies" and even sometimes by their wrong name. Obviously in desperate need of training! Over the week, she learned to replace a bottom bracket, install a headset, replace a star-fangled nut (she still often erroneously calls it a bolt), address shifting issues, repack a rear hub, how to adjust brake levels, and even how to better adjust a bike to the rider. She also discovered Phil's Hand Cleaner which is made with crushed walnut shells — it's amazing stuff (and yes we should have it in stock and is for non-bikers too)! Although Sue now understand how bikes work and can even manage basic repairs, she will happily pass along the "real" bike work along.

Brian and Tim are the bike nerds (and this is said with all love and respect). Tim is the bike geek extraordinaire as he's the type who will, and has, hung out at his LBS ("local bike shop") to pick the brains of employees and mechanics about their thoughts on the pros and cons of rims and the best PSI (that's how inflated a tire is) for gravel / sand / roads. As a former engine engineer, he understandably likes to know precisely how things work and how well-designed and well-tuned products improve the riding experience. Tim, being an avid rider who often rides 100+ miles weekly, has himself learned how to do many parts upgrades and repairs because going to the LBS daily is not an maintainable financial endeavor (as well as when he rode the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route in 2022, bike shops weren't exactly trailside). Brian is gifted with figuring things out and is a self-taught mechanic. Mind you he won over Sue's Dad moons ago when he undertook swapping out an engine in a Ford Escort, so when we say he can figure it out, we have zero doubt. (And if Joe or Garrett happen to be around too, you'll realize we have mechanically-gifted people coming out of the woodwork). 

Tim and Brian are your answer when a bike needs a tune-up or repair and we can handle just about anything you bring in from truing a wheel, replacing electronic shifters, swapping out tubes for tubeless tires, finessing shifting, replacing a crank, and more. And if you stump them, we are good friends with Biked in Grand Rapids and can bring your bike down and back to the Les Cheneaux area with enough grace period. Biked also has a suspension person on staff who can rebuild your shocks (did you know they should be rebuilt regularly depending on your riding)? And speaking of Biked, this is where Brian and Tim spent a week in January (yep, that only week of winter weather we had) immersed in their advanced mechanic's class. David and KC graciously answered every question these two thought of over their five-days...and maybe even some they didn't think of. LOL

Don't hesitate to give us a try or stop by your Eastern UP (Yoop) LBS. We're open seven-days a week May 15– through the first weekend in October; we can take in bikes during the off-season too — just reach out to us to schedule a drop off. See you soon!

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