If you can believe it, my bike has not worked properly since being reassembled after we shipped it here from Sharjah. And I just never fixed it. That is what an international move does to you. Lots of things just get put on the backburner, like fixing the bike that is your main form of transportation. Sigh. The problem was that it did work (if not properly), so I was able to put it off while taking care of things that were more essential to keeping my head above water. I could ride it, more or less, but gears 1 and 3 didn't work, so I was limited to the range of gear 2. My brakes were almost down to zero. The pedals were creaky. Cycling was becoming harder than it should be.
I had started to think I might just take it to the bike shop down the road to have them fix it - it feels good to just say "here you go! I'll be back to pick it up later." But you know what feels even better? Fixing it yourself! Especially when you have to watch lots of youtube tutorials first.
So yesterday, we had a bike tuning-up party in the living room. Jeremy pumped tires and raised seats while I took a closer look at my brakes and gears. I tightened my brake cables, then realized that I needed new brake pads. So I replaced those (!). Then I literally googled "what parts of a bike can I lube," and literally lubed all those parts.
This morning, I wiped the bike down and took it for a test ride in the parking garage. It was like new! I almost pitched off the front when I braked for the first time since they are so fine-tuned now. And my gears! They shift! All of them! I had been stuck on the middle one for months.
The right-hand brake handle is still not quite springing back after being deployed, so that may require more youtube tutorial watching. In the meantime, though, I am super happy of myself for fixing my own bike at last!