If you own a bike you should know how to fix it
New cycling addict, Debbie, received a vital lesson in How to Fix a Puncture the other day. I offered her the lesson in return for a glass of wine (I’m easily bought!). She carefully watched as I revealed how to remove both wheels from the bike, how to remove the tyre and inner tube and how to replace the tube. I also showed her how to repair an inner tube.
Debbie said she was grateful for the lesson and would now feel safer going out cycling on her own. She also confessed that she plans to ask for shorter nails the next time she visits the nail beauty lady. Anything to do with cycle repairs will leave your hands dirty and your nails jagged, unless you wear a pair of rubber gloves!
If you own a bike, the least you should know is what to do if you get a flat tyre. It might be that you’ll be lucky enough to be offered assistance by a passing cyclist but you might not. Being stuck miles from home with a flattie could mean an expensive taxi ride home (if the taxi driver allows your bike into his car), a long walk home or a call to a good friend. If you know how to change the inner tube (and you have a spare one with you), it means you can get yourself home, without the embarrassment of having to get assistance.
Over the years I have been proud to be able to fix all my punctures (there have been numerous) at the side of the road – and nod to any passing cyclists usually male) when they ask if I’m doing okay on my own. I once had to call my partner when two punctures one after the other left me stranded without another inner tube. Bad luck.
Once you know how to sort a puncture there are many other useful skills that will keep your bike in good working order and require less cost in bike shop maintenance. A service once a year is a good idea, but you can help to keep the cost of this service down by looking after your bike as you go along.
The basics of bike maintenance include:
* Washing you bike down after each outing.
* Keeping the chain clean and oiled
* Ensuring that the tyres are properly inflated
* Keeping the bike in a dry place.
After this you may need some assistance. If you want to learn how to repair or service you own bike I’d suggest you attend a bike maintenance course. There are a number taking palce in bike shops and one that I think is paerticuarly useful is the Glasgow Bike Station Fix Your Own Bike sessions.
Sessions priced at £4 per hour take place on Wednesdays from 4pm until 8pm (last entry 7pm). Included in the cost is:
* Hire of a fully-equipped workstand
* All the tools you need
* Free tea, coffee, gloves and overalls for you and oil and grease for your bike
* Expert help and advice (but not someone to do the work for you!), including manuals.
Special one-off FYOB session this Friday (September 9)
Tomorrow from 4pm until 8pm, the Glasgow Bike Station is offering a reduced priced session (£3 per hour), especially aimed at participants in this Sunday’s Pedal For Scotland event
There is no need to book. Just bring you own bike and head along to the Glasgow Bike Shed, at 197 London Road, in the Barras Market warehouse, just opposite the Loch Fyne Restaurant.
Gain a bike fixing qualification
The Weldtech Gold Award is an accredited award recognised by the Bicycle Association and a professional mechanics qualification. The course is run over 28 hours (over 4 days). Places are limited to four participants per course, and covers everything from fixing a puncture to a complete rebuild of a bike.
During the course the candidates are shown how to perform each task, then led through the procedure, and finally have to carry out the task unaided to demonstrate that they understand the procedure and can carry it out in a safe and competent manner.
The cost of a Weldtech Gold Award course is £400 per person and is only available from the Edinburgh Bike Station.