Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Think I'll Start a Maintenance Log

I can imagine the maintenance log for this Diablo VT: Jan 1: oil change, cost: one arm. Feb 1: tire rotation, cost: one leg. March 1, replace hose clamp: $390. August 1: alternator went out, replace: oh sweet Jesus

I think I'll start a maintenance log for my bicycles to help me keep track of what I've done, how much it cost, maybe to track how long parts last, probably to give me an idea of what I should do next, and so on. I realize I may be the only person on the planet who owns and rides several bikes who doesn't already do that. There's probably a subset of bicycle bloggers who post their maintenance logs on their blogs. There's probably a subset of them whose blog is just their maintenance log. Or, their ride log plus their maintenance log. 

Which does bring up some pressing questions: should the log be electronic, or in a spiral notebook? If electronic, with pictures, for future reference? If electronic, with pictures, why not post it on the blog? Why not have multiple people all posting their maintenance items to one blog, for comparison, encouragement, even competition? Or is bicycle maintenance too personal, too revealing, too quirky, to get that sort of public exposure? To expose your own maintenance quirks to public evaluation? Or, if it's in a spiral notebook, are there other considerations? What if I lose the notebook with months worth of log information? Is it wrong to kill trees to log bicycle maintenance tasks?

No need to overthink it I guess. Just do it. The next time I oil the chain, replace a part, or adjust something, I'm going to record that somewhere. In a spreadsheet. Or a spiral notebook. Haven't decided yet. Get up. Go ride.

The maintenance log for this MUP-cart would be simpler than either the lambo or a bicycle: Jan 1: fixed squeaky/wobbly wheel. March 1: fixed squeaky/wobbly wheel. June 1: fixed squeaky/wobbly wheel. A low-maintenance, safe commuting alternative!


  1. My plan is the same as for my car. Ride to destruction then fix, write nothing down. Act "how could this happen" surprised.

  2. I'm in the same boat as you (until now) and Oldfool... ride it until noises prompt me to investigate and fix. I have no plans to change.

  3. I"m with Oldfool and Rantwick, except I ride until it breaks cause I can never figure out what the hell is wrong.
    I also don't keep track of upgrades, I don't want to embarass myself.

  4. Ooh -- spiral notebook vs. electronic-with-pictures is a tough choice. One is visceral -- there's something about actually writing things down that makes me more likely to remember them -- but the other is just plain cool.

    Maybe both? As they say, 'Nothing succeeds like excess...' ;)

    BTW, I also own and ride several bikes, and I don't keep a maintenance log. I wonder if there's a difference between the general maintenance-logging tendencies of folks whose primarily motivation for cycling is the simple love of the way it feels vs folks who ride for a sense of accomplishment.

    I bet that even if logs exist in about equal numbers, they're very different kinds of logs -- kind of like my 'training' (ha!) log says things like, 'Hot as Christmas in Sydney' and 'Fun lunch ride! WOOOOOOOO!' but not things like '10x 30 second intervals' or ... um ... whatever else someone who actually applies a scientific approach to conditioning and training might write :) To be fair, I do mention intervals once, in passing: 'Got some intervals in.'

    I think my maintenance log would read like:
    'July 15th - cleaned Swift's drivetrain. Wow. I always thought my chainrings were INTENDED to be black.'

  5. Allow me to summarize: we don't need no stinkin logs. Ride until it fails. If it breaks, fix it. If it sticks and it should not, put some lube on it. If it does not stick and it should, put some duct tape on it. If it's really loose and you can't remember it being that loose before, consider the possibility of tightening it some time. That about covers it I guess.


Please feel free to comment here, almost anything goes, except for obvious spam or blatantly illegal or objectionable material. Spammers may be subject to public ridicule, scorn, or outright shaming, and the companies represented in spam shall earn disrepute and ire for each occurrence.