I was riding my older bike the other day, and suddenly found the wheels really hard to turn.
A spoke had broken and the rear wheel went out of true and was rubbing
against a brake block, adding unwanted friction to my ride.
This wheel must have been badly built, as this is the fourth broken spoke in about three years. One of my other bikes is twenty years old and has never broken a spoke.
The last time this happened, I didn't feel like getting my hands dirty, and inquired at the local bike shop. Believe it or not, they quoted $40 to replace the spoke.
And that was on the easy side of the wheel (ie, not the sprocket side.)
It certainly made me miss my favourite old bike shop in Joo Chiat Road, which sadly closed last year.
They would do a puncture for about 20 cents, and I'm sure a broken spoke wouldn't cost much more in those days.
After getting the $40 quote, I decided to buy the necessary tools for future use, a chain whip and a sprocket lock ring remover. Both were bought online from the UK for $28. As I had bought some other stuff as well, I qualified for free postage.
Incidentally, spokes now cost $2 each - in the 80's, you could get one for 20 cents.
In the 70's, before the internet, Google and YouTube, my main source of info re bicycle maintenance and repair came from this really good book. (Regretfully, the author died last year.)
Once the new spoke has been laced in, it was time to consult my book as to which spokes have to be tightened or loosened, and in which direction, in order to true the wheel.
Below, me with my truing stand, bought many years ago, at my kitchen table.