Tips and tricks at cycle shop’s 2nd annual ladies’ night


Laura Klein, junior art education major, and Missy Eymann, senior illustration major, listen as North Central Cyclery owner Tobie DePauw speaks about bicycle brakes during Ladies’ Night at the shop.

By Kyla Gardner

Next time you hear tires squeal on your way to class, that biker trying to avoid pedestrians is either riding a professional-class bicycle or a cheap one.

NIU students and DeKalb community members learned this and more facts, tips and tricks about bike maintenance and repair at North Central Cyclery’s second annual Ladies’ Night at 534 E. Lincoln Highway.

The staff demonstrated how to change a flat tire, tighten brakes and repairKyla Gardnergear shifts.

Kyla Gardner the brake station, Tobie DePauw, North Central Cyclery owner and manager, told riders how to repair their brakes if they are squealing.

Tire squealing can result from old brakes, the brake pads hitting the wheel rim at the wrong angle, or, DePauw said, from working too well.

Professional cyclists usually have squealing tires because their break pads are grabbing the wheel rim “so effectively,” he said.

But squealing also results from cheap breaks melting onto cheap rims, a repair that could “far exceed the price of the bike,” DePauw said.

The staff squeezed mechanical information into twenty minute tutorials at each repair station with breaks for refreshments and mingling in between.

“I’ve been doing this for 40 years,” said Ari Andonopoulos, service manager of the North Central Cyclery. “It’s going to take you a little more practice.” He showed attendees how to change a flat tire.

Chad Ament, North Central Cyclery employee, showed riders how to repair their gears if they are not shifting correctly.

“It’s a lot to absorb in a small amount of time,” Ament said.

Graduate geography student Melissa Burlingame said she attended Ladies’ Night last year and “learn[s] a little bit more each time.” Now, thanks to this program, she has done a better job of keeping her tire inflation maintained, she said.

DePauw said the purpose of the program and goal of his shop is to get riders “to know their bikes, to de-mystify them and get more comfortable.”

Senior illustration major Missy Eymann said, “I don’t like to rely on other people to do simple maintenance for me.”

The information was meant to help women on longer bike rides who might be stranded far from home, Ament said.

If the rider’s gears are slipping, they just need to tighten some screws, and that can get them comfortably home, he said.