Teach Project: Report

I’m always looking for an excuse to learn more about bicycles. I often have trouble with my derailleur, and I would normally just monkey around with it until it starts to work right; tightening and loosening the limiting screws pretty randomly until I was pretty sure the derailleur was working right again. This project gave me a good excuse to read up on derailleur maintenance, and layout a logical way to tune it.

One of the biggest challenges was thinking about the derailleur from the point of view of someone completely unfamiliar with bicycle mechanics. This involved isolating only the essential parts of the derailleur, and only the most essential tools involved. I would normally sit down with all my tools at hand, and use whatever made intuitive sense. For this project I needed to involve the smallest amount of tools possible, so that anyone could follow the steps without dropping hundreds of dollars at the local bike shop.

To create the module, I used the web development techniques I have learned throughout this course. This is probably the most valuable skill I will take away from this class. This was the first project where I used all my own images, so I had to learn how to change and modify photos taken with a digital camera. I used an 8 mega pixel Kodak digital camera to take the photos, and MS paint to modify the images. Because Paint is such a simple program, I had to modify all the lighting and colors with the camera when I took the photo; I wouldn’t have been able to change these things later.

I think I would like to create more tutorials on bicycle maintenance. Relying on an intuitive sense of mechanics works fine on the one hand, but there is something to be said for a more formal approach. In teaching this method of derailleur adjustment, I really learned alot about derailleurs. I think that this sort of experience could be really helpful in my cycling adventures. I was also glad to learn a little more about digital photography. I have taken some classes on photography with an older ‘analog’ camera, but I’ve never done anything with a digital camera beyond snapping the occasional vacation shot. I was surprised at how many features that our inexpensive camera had, including color adjustment for incandescent and florescent lighting.  I’m certain that these skills will be extremely useful in creating future  tutorials.

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