Grrrrr To Poorly Written Instruction Manuals

They say time is money.  Well, the past few days luckily saw me only wasting a bunch of time thanks to a poorly written instruction manual.

I have an exercise bike that I got a couple years back as a replacement for a treadmill that went kaput under an extended warranty.  Like most of us, when it comes to exercise equipment, I use it sporadically, but with the Lenten challenge of exercising regularly, I put the bike through some pretty regular use.

The last couple of days, a small problem popped up.  While pedaling, the readout would occasionally drop to 0 MPH even though I was pedaling normally.  It would usually pick back up after 30 seconds or so, but this was annoying.

I called customer support (I have an extended warranty on this one as well) and they advised me that this is pretty common, and that I could make the adjustment myself.  They even directed me to the page in the manual that contains the instructions on how to make the adjustment.

I set out to take care of this, and noted that I had to take apart a couple of things to get at the switch that needed adjustment.  The first instruction was ‘Remove the left pedal with an adjustable wrench.’

No problem, I thought, as I grabbed my wrench and set to work. Should be a piece of cake.

Hmmm…must be really tight as it wouldn’t budge.  It didn’t help that the pedals want to turn so it’s hard to get leverage, but I kept trying and trying to no avail.  I then though, let’s see how the other pedal works.  Used my wrench and off it came, no problem.  This had already taken 30-45 minutes, and I called it a day.

Back with new enthusiasm the next day, I set about it again, this time creating a makeshift brace that would prevent the pedal from turning.  Surely this had to work!

Another 30-45 minutes later and no dice.

Finally, I used the ever handy Google to search ‘removing pedals from a bike’ or something like that, only to find this nugget, paraphrased: “Left pedals on bikes and exercise bike are reverse threaded to prevent it from loosening through regular use.”

Meaning: All my work had been tightening it.

Went back down, used my new ‘righty loosey’ mantra, and wah-lah!  Off it came.

One extra sentence (or one bit of information from the person I spoke to on the phone) would have saved me a lot of time on this.

I actually took the pedal off, took the plastic housing off, and left it for now.  We’ll see if the actual adjustment works or not.  Stay tuned!
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6 thoughts on “Grrrrr To Poorly Written Instruction Manuals

  1. Is it mean that laughed? I'm sorry. But it's good info to have, I didn't know this.

  2. I go through this with anything mechanical. I pick my battles, sometimes it is easier to call out someone.

  3. This is why I like video manuals because they provide much more detail then written ones.

  4. LOL! Wish I'd had this post when I was teaching technical writing and editing!

  5. Yes, the support person should have mentioned that little, but oh so important, fact to you.

    Congratulations on riding the bike!

  6. @Ashley – Don't worry, I laughed after the initial 'I don't believe this' wore off.

    @Funny – This company really isn't all that service oriented, so I'm guessing they get the smallest bang for their buck on their writing team.

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