Tuesday night I went to a 90 minute seminar about basic bike maintenance. When I've ridden before, I've always had Steve to deal with flat tires. He's sort of my bicycle AAA. At the triathlon, no one else can touch your bike. If a tire pops, you've got to fix it yourself. That meant I needed to get some knowledge.
The class was offered at REI for the low, low price of free. Cheap is neat, but free is for me. Of course, I live with someone who knows gobs about bikes and he'd have given me free advice too. Sometimes it's easier to learn from someone neutral.
I'd have considered the night a success if I learned to change a tire. The class was far better than I could have hoped. In an hour and a half I learned to adjust my brakes, my shifting and my dérailleur. I also learned the correct way to clean and oil a chain and what to do if one pops off while I'm riding. Oh, and I did learn how to change a tire.
The bonus is I'm so much more confident about the bike. Looking back, I should have taken a class ages ago. I don't mind figuring things out on my own, but I appreciate having a head start on finding my way out of cluelessness.