Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tool Goddess (in training)

Tool Goddess (in training) with her little cherub at the Cycle Folsom Fix-a-Flat clinic.
Join me on my adventure to transform myself from mild mannered housewife (whose derisive snort was that?)  to Tool Goddess. What is a Tool Goddess? It is a term I coined because I didn’t want to go by “Dawn the Wrench” or “Dawn the Grease Monkey”.  “Dawn the Tool Goddess” sounded so much more chic. Of course the title makes the job no less gritty and does not excuse me from having to kneel in grass, mud and/or asphalt when necessary.  

My husband is a ride leader for the Folsom High Cycling Team and with so many kids on the team that is a lot of bikes to take care of on race day. They seem to have a very high ratio of bike to those who can work on them so I decided to get myself trained up to help the team. Of course, I have never in my life even changed a tire before so this should be an interesting journey to say the least. I hope you will enjoy embarking on this new adventure with me as I invade my husband’s blog with periodic updates of The Tool Goddess.
"TG(it)" removing rear wheel.
Pic courtesy of Ross Del Luca.

First stop on the journey, the “Fix-a-Flat” clinic led by Brian “FrankenCycle”, an assistant organizer of Cycle Folsom. Before I get technical (stop that laughter), I just have to say that the Cycle Folsom folks are a great group. Very fun to hang out with, willing to share their knowledge and put up with me and my family. (Special thanks to cyclist and fellow blogger Ross Del Luca of fame for helping take some shots of me at the clinic.)  I was bummed to have to leave the clinic early but what I thought was a minor emergency with my littlest turned out to be a ghastly nosebleed on the part of one of my step-sons. We had to hightail it out of there before the real fun started so I promised Brian that we would be back to take the clinic again when it came around. If you are into cycling and in the Folsom area I strongly recommend you check out Cycle Folsom’s Meetup site.

I can’t go over the lesson step by step as I was not there the whole time but I did want to share some of the nifty insights and cool gadgets I gleaned from our hour and a half there.

Cool Gadget OneLezyne V10 Multi-Tool with Chain Breaker. Brian brought out a pretty that my inner magpie immediately coveted. The cool feature (okay, it has the word “carbon” in it which automatically makes it cool) is really the chain breaker attachment. Out in the middle of nowhere you can get a damaged chain back on a bike (missing the naughty link) and at least get yourself home. Note to Santa: Another cool feature, it will fit in my stocking!  Sabrina also said that she has been a good girl and has room in her stocking for one.

‘Nother Cool GadgetLezyne Micro Caddy M. It has lots of labeled compartments for your necessary items and best of all it doesn’t need that annoying Velcro seat post strap that shreds your bike shorts and mars your carbon post. Santa, the Lezyne Multi-Tool fits right into the saddle bag which would also fit right into my stocking. I’ve been a very good girl this year. (Really!)

And Then There Are Those Nifty Insights….

Get It Right The First Time - Do NOT feel pressured to hurry a bike change. Brian urges the group, “Get it right the first time.” To which my husband offered his own story about being in a hurry to change a tire for a time trial and ended up blowing out three tubes in a row. Patience in tire changing is indeed a virtue.

Before You Ground, Look Around - Do not be afraid to ask someone to hold the saddle of your bike “there always seems to be ten people standing around watching you change the tire anyway” explained Brian. If you are riding alone see if you can rest your seat on a picnic table to avoid laying your bike on ground.

Two Tubes = Good Karma – You never know when you will have two blown out tubes (see first nifty insight) or when a friend may need one. Cycle Folsom folks agree that carrying an extra tube is a great way to earn some good karma.
Brian got "the boot."

Sometimes, A Boot is a Dollar Well SpentAvoid a dreaded “tire hernia” (I think that was Stan Schultz, Cycle Folsom’s Chief Evangelist,  that popped off with that one.) and pack a boot. Forgot a boot? Then get creative and use a powerbar wrapper or even a fibrous dollar bill.

Once It’s Gone, It’s Gone – If all you pack is a CO2 canister, be sure you practice using them before you go out with one on the open road because “Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

Take The Edge Off – Be sure to pack a few Advil or Tylenol. If someone is injured it can help take the edge off the pain while they either finish the ride or on their way to treatment. That nugget was shared by Kimberly Hawkinson, assistant organizer for Cycle Folsom, who delayed treatment of her own injury she had earned just that morning to help with the clinic.

Well, folks, as you can see there were a lot of cool things I learned and I didn’t even get to stay the whole time.  My first trip out as a Tool Goddess in training was a lot of fun and with great folks like Cycle Folsom donating their time to help the rest of us poor schmo’s I think I am going to enjoy the ride! Until next time, Keep Your Tools Clean!

-Dawn the Tool Goddess (in training)


  1. A pair of latex gloves will keep chain gu off your hands. Light weight and easy to pack.

  2. Hi Dawn,
    Great write-up. You're a much better writer than me. It was great to have you and Chris stop by.

    One correction: my Lezyne multi tool is the V10 ( It is their least expensive multi tool with a chain breaker. The SV10 is nearly identical, but stainless steal (rust resistant), and then there is the Carbon 10 (;

    The saddle bag is the Lezyne Micro Caddy M ( Very happy with it so far. Lezyne also makes some excellent pumps, but I have yet to get my hands on one. The cool thing about Lezyne is they are cyclists making quality products and they are a semi-local company down in San Luis Obispo.

    Hope to see you again soon.

  3. Thanks Brian!

    I've made the corrections. Looking forward to seeing you and the Cycle Folsom group again as well. I need to get myself in riding shape again so I can have some REAL fun with you folks!

  4. Clue me in on the "boot". Still not sure what I was looking at and it's purpose. Thanks!

  5. Hey Indy. You helped me catch that I had linked the word "boot" to the wrong thing (something similar but not what I meant. I fixed the link to the word in the article so if you click on it it will take you to an example of a tire boot. A tire boot is used to repair a hole in a tire so that you don't keep popping your tubes. Let me know if that explained it okay and thanks for the heads up! - GT