These Young Mechanics Are the Next Generation of Bike Repair

These Young Mechanics Are the Next Generation of Bike Repair

Don’t let their age fool you—these wrenches have some serious maintenance skills

March 10, 2016
Blackstone Bicycle Works
Nayla Hale (left), 16, and Khori Wilson, 13, told us about their journeys from repair newbies to master mechanics. 
On Chicago’s South Side, Blackstone Bicycle Works offers maintenance classes for kids, who earn aprons of different colors as their skills progress. Nayla Hale (left), 16, and Khori Wilson, 13, told us about their journeys from repair newbies to master mechanics. • I didn’t know anything about bikes going in—my bike had been stolen, so I hadn’t ridden in awhile.—N.H.

• I started with fixing flat tires and the ABC Quick Check (below). It took me three years to get my Black Apron. I was the first girl.—K.W.

• My favorite part to work on is the bottom bracket because it’s such a challenge. You loosen it, you take it out, you clean it, you repack it, and then you put it back in. Just know you’re never going to get it right the first time. It’ll be too tight or too loose. My biggest tip is to be patient.—K.W.

• Some people come in and when I start working on their bike they say, “Whoa! I didn’t know you were the one who would do it.” It makes me feel special, like a role model.—K.W.

• My bike gets me where I’m going without having to rely on anyone else, and now I have the power to fix it. I’m never stranded anywhere.—N.H.

ABC Quick Check
✔  Air – Inflate tires to the recommended pressure listed on the sidewall and examine them for wear (replace a tire once you can see threads, belts, or the inner tube).
✔  Brakes – Spin the wheels and make sure the brakes aren’t rubbing. Squeeze the levers—there should be at least 1 inch between the lever and handlebar when the brakes are fully engaged. Replace brake pads when there’s less than ¼-inch of pad left.
✔  Chain and Cranks – Make sure the chain is clean and lubed. Pull on the crankarms; tighten the crank bolt if it’s loose.
✔  Quick – All quick releases should be tightly closed.
✔  Check – Look over the rest of the bike for loose or missing parts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: