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!

6 thoughts on “Grrrrr To Poorly Written Instruction Manuals”

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

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

    Congratulations on riding the bike!

  3. @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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