Fight the February Funk

Are you feeling the February Funk? Don’t give in – learn how to be a Bike Hero instead.

Winter has finally arrived and with it, the annual February Funk. The cloudy skies, the cold winds battering at you, the days never quite being long enough. It’s the perfect time to spend less time outside and little more indoors scheming, dreaming and prepping for your warm weather adventures to come.

Don’t Get Stranded

When you find your self again mindlessly scrolling Facebook or surfing the web for viral videos, instead think towards all those long, gorgeous hours of sunshine. Click over to the ORBike and Oregon Bicycle Racing Association calendars. Get inspired. This might be the year you tackle your first century or go bike touring without support.

But then it strikes you. You probably won’t because… what if something happens to your bike? Maybe not even on the day of your big goal, but when you’re riding lots of miles to work up to it, maybe even somewhere far from town. Then what?

Images flash through your mind of being stranded on the side of the road, dejectedly waiting for someone to come rescue you. Of having to yet again call your husband or wife or friend for a lift. Or worse yet, being without cell coverage and having to depend on the universe to help you out.

That’s no way to spend a ride.

How about ditching that scenario forever? Here’s how.

Fix It Yourself

Instead of putting off your big goals why not learn how to fix your bike… yourself?

Totally Reasonable Goal #1: Become a ninja at repairing flats. Little kids repair flats all the time. You can do it, but it takes a few times to learn how to fix a flat appropriately, efficiently and, perhaps more importantly, confidently.

Totally Reasonable Goal #2Learn the everyday maintenance that keeps your bike running smoothly.

Totally Reasonable Goal #3Figure out how to tell when your bike needs repairs so you can address issues before ruining a ride or becoming stranded.

Totally Reasonable Goal #4Give your poor bike that has been used and abused all winter some much needed TLC – maybe even a full tune-up with your own two hands.

A good bike maintenance class with hands-on instruction, a small class size and a patient instructor will help you easily reach your Totally Reasonable Goals well before summertime is here. It’s the perfect wintertime project.

Know Your Bike a Little Better

Your bike may be staying warm and dry because you haven’t been riding it much– or you’ve been hitting the road a bit this winter but overlooking the coating of grime and how your brakes are barely stopping. Both are great reasons to get to know your bike a little better and give it (and yourself) a pick-me-up. Taking a bike repair lesson will keep you dry, toasty and working towards a better rolling bike and riding experience.

Flat Repair Classes

Repair classes can be as simple as learning to fix a flat. You may be wondering why someone would take an entire class just to learn flat repair. There are two ways to make flat repair go smoother: change a tire over and over and over again (sometimes all in the same ride) or simply learn the easy way to do it the first time. Classes can teach you to repair a flat in ten minutes with leverage tips and tricks – without you having to struggle on your own. Seeking out an expert will save you time, effort and good dose of frustration.

In-Depth Classes

Some classes offer opportunities to delve even deeper into your bike with instruction on brake pad replacement, adjusting your shifting to make that annoying clicking chain go away or getting into all the parts that make your bike spin and whir. With any good classes, the added bonus is that you’ll be doing the work on your own bike. It’s a great way to learn your specific steed and retain the information solidly in your brain.

Be a Bike Hero

Learning to make bike repairs not only helps your bike, it’s also a huge boost to your confidence when riding alone or with others. As a teacher of bike mechanics, some of my favorite stories from students aren’t just about when they get themselves out of a jam but when they’re able to help others around them. Yes, it’s true, knowing roadside repaid can make you a Bike Hero in no time, it just takes a little knowledge and practice. Knowing you can take care of yourself on the road opens a new world of opportunities – a freedom similar to when you first learned to ride on two wheels.


Now is the time. Don’t let the winter blues get you down. Take advantage of being indoors and get ready for the riding season ahead on a whole new level. You’ll feel like a kid again and your bike will thank you for it!

What Do You Know?

What skills have you learned to stay confident on the road? Have you taken a class that you loved? Shoutout below.

Tori Bortman is ORbike’s resident bike mechanic. She is also an educator, consultant and the owner of Gracie’s Wrench

Looking for an excellent maintenance class? Tori is an expert instructor. Her small-size classes offer plenty of instructor interaction and opportunities to learn repair in a supportive setting. Learn more on her website.

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