Less time in the car, more time on the bike. Sound like a familiar goal?
Even when it comes to maintenance, many of us cyclists lean the same way, and the closest we come to a car mechanic is dropping off our car for an oil change, or listening to Click and Clack on public radio. We might do all our own maintenance on our bikes, but when it comes to cars, if we own or lease one, most of us will leave the wrenching on our four-wheel computerized vehicles to the experts with proper diagnostics, the right tools, parts and labor warranties and liability insurance.
That's just as well—many projects other than changing an air filter or wiper blades can be more complex than on a bicycle—and peace of mind and your time can't be discounted. Yet for any home bicycle mechanic, your local auto parts store is still worth a visit, and today for our latest, Mechanical Monday installment, we've got a few favorite reasons why.
Make no mistake about it, an auto parts store can't replace your local bicycle shop in its life-saving ability when you break a part the day before a race, and local bike shops need your support to be there when you need them the most. However, most bike shops aren't stocked with all the items a home mechanic might need for a complicated project or pro setup. And while hardware stores carry some of these items, the selection is actually often more limited.
Sometimes it's even a matter of convenience, as there's more likely to be an auto parts store close by than a Home Depot, and there are more O'Reily, Napa or Advance Auto Parts locations than True Value or Ace Hardware franchises. And these stores tend to be open for extended hours, long after a bike shop has closed.
So roll up those sleeves, your roll-top backpack and your two wheels up to your local neighborhood auto parts store with some off our staff's shopping suggestions below. You'll be sure to get some staff attention in one way or another as the only grease monkey in lycra.
7 Reasons for Cyclists to Visit the Auto Parts Store:
Clean Up on Aisle Five
Getting ready to overhaul your bike? Your local bike shop should have all the cleaners and degreasers you need, along with some bike-specific cleaners like a carbon matte finisher and pedal/cleat lubricant. But if you go through a lot of cleaning fluids like Simple Green or solvents and need a gallon size bottle, your local auto parts store has big, industrial-sized jugs, and many will take back spent fluids making proper disposal easy.
Now you’ve got gloves and cleaning fluids, but what’s still missing? A way to apply and clean-up these products. If you’re out of old race t-shirts to use as rags, these shops have bundles of reusable shop rags and heavy duty disposable shop towels waiting to help you get the job done and keep your work area clean.