Arleigh racing cyclocross in North Carolina.
Arleigh Jenkins, known to some as the Bike Shop Girl, worked in the bike industry for over a decade. From shop rat to manager to wrench on the pro mountain bike circuit, she’s had a hand in nearly every aspect of the cycling world. She’s since moved on from the bike industry, but Arleigh’s used her knowledge to help cyclists empower themselves, first through CommuteByBike.com and more recently BikeShopGirl.com. I spoke to Arleigh about the barriers women (and everyone) sometimes face in cycling, the need for independent bike shops to evolve, and her struggle to get back into the saddle after being hit by a car.
It takes a brave soul to disassemble a Rohloff hub.
It’s hard to say what it is about cycling that attracts D.I.Y. tinkerers. Part of it is certainly the relatively low-consequences of bike mechanics. Sure there are certain key components of a bike that require more skill to install or adjust than others, but a botched crankset installation likely won’t kill you. Another aspect is probably the sheer number of things to change on a bike. In the hands of a dedicated mechanic (amateur or otherwise), a bike frame becomes a blank foundation on which to attach a nearly infinite number of fork, wheel, tire, handlebar, drivetrain, fender, rack, saddle, and electronics combinations. Bring welding skills into the picture and the fabrication and modification possibilities are almost limitless.
Thanks to my Internet addiction, I’ve come across a lot of great examples of DIY bike crafts. Here are a few good ones I’ve seen of late: