It is rare that you can find a mechanic that is as passionate about building and fixing bikes as Byron is. He lives and breathes bikes, and his ability to diagnose and fix a problem is exceptional. This past September (2017), our team went to Hell Hole Gravel Grind Stage Race over near Charleston, South Carolina, and Byron went as our mechanic. For some crazy reason, he loves working on bikes and keeping or team’s bike running in some adverse conditions. He wants to make sure Ride On Bikes Team has no mechanical issues if we are representing Ride On Bikes. This race is ridiculously hard on bikes; 156 miles over two 75 mile stages and also a 6 mile dirt road time trial. It is mostly all dirt roads, through a swamp with pot holes that sneak up on you and can jar your teeth, sticky and deep gritty peanut butter mud that turns into cement on a drivetrain and challenges any setup, especially towards the end of a 4 hour stage. It is hard to “Hell Hole proof” your bike, but Byron had our equipment on point at the start of both races. On the first stage in particular, my chain somehow got stuck momentarily between my top cog and spokes. I was able to get it out and not dismount, but not before I sheered chunks of my drive-side spokes and tore the seal off my cassette body, exposing the innards of my hub to the nasty conditions. I made it through the stage, and got 2nd, luckily, as this happened late in the stage when I was in a break with another rider. My teammate John was off the front snatching up a solo win. Tall grass had gotten stuck in my cassette, which made the chain ride up and across the cog when I shifted. That night, Byron totally overhauled my hub, after diagnosing the problem, and even went to an auto parts store and bought an O-ring to replace the seal. The next day, my bike functioned flawlessly, and I won the stage, and rode into 2nd place in the overall, with John getting first. We could not have had those results and represent Ride On Bikes with a 1-2 overall result without Byron’s knowledge, ability to diagnose and fix issues quickly, and have our bike spotless and mechanically perfect on race day.
James A. “Jake” Andrews, III, PE
Andrews, Hammock & Powell, Inc.
Macon, GA 31032