If you have been riding a bike for any amount of time then you can’t help but have picked up a few tips about keeping your bike in good working order but there’s always things you don’t know about and would normally leave up to your Local Bike Shop (LBS). There are people who will pop down to the local shop if they have so much as a puncture and many of us will spend £50 or more on an annual service. If you know how to look after you own bike, and you have the tools required, then you can save a lot of money in the long run – especially if you have a number of bikes in the house.
Most tasks are pretty straight-forward and require little technical skills or expertise, even removing and servicing bottom brackets, headsets and hubs can be done in a short amount of time. The most common tasks you are likely to undertake though are basic adjustments to gears and brakes plus the inevitable puncture repairs. We cover a lot of the basics on the Urban Limits site (and this will continue to grow) but you can’t beat proper 1-2-1 tuition.
We recently attended a Cyctec 2-day ‘Home Mechanic’ training course delivered by PJCS Cycle Training in Bletchley to find out how to do bike maintenance properly, and perhaps figure out where we had been going wrong over the years!
The course covers everything you could expect to need to know as an enthusiast and includes the following:
- Bottom bracket
- Drive train
- Gear set-up
- Tyres & tubes
Of course, you are able to ask your own questions too and our trainer Pete has decades of experience and knows almost everything about every component fitted to any bike ever!
Our fellow course attendees were from a wide background with people from all walks of life from housewives to surgeons! People’s previous experience varied too with some having little experience at all of fixing bikes at all and others who regularly service their own machines. Speaking to people during the course most agreed that a little bit of prior knowledge was useful and you should really know your way around a bike a bit before turning up.
Most of the subjects were covered hands-on with a demonstration of techniques and an opportunity for you to practice on your own bike. With a variety of bikes and components spread around our own bikes this meant you also got to see how to adjust different types of equipment. Pete certainly knows his bike history and could talk all day about how different components have evolved over the years and he is able to point out difference in different manufactures’ kit. This lead to some amusing, if rather geeky, debates about which was best, Shimano or Campagnolo.
The best part was being able to spend time with someone who really knew bikes and was able to point out little tips and tricks (which I won’t give away here) to help improve your skills. I can confidently say that I’m now able to carry out a fall service myself and all of the oily / greasy bit hold no fear anymore! I still can’t true a wheel properly but that’s a bit of a mystic art that perhaps I’m never destined to learn!