Not long ago, Evans Cycles have started to offer bike maintenance courses at our stores for our customers. Bike maintenance is like base jumping: looks scary at first, but afterwards some practice, you realise that it’s not that bad.

As I confessed a couple of months ago on this blog, I myself wasn’t a keen on maintaining my own bike for a long time, so I was eager to see how like-minded people were introduced to the cult. I emailed the store manager of our West End shop at Mortimer street and we agreed that I would pay a visit to the course last Wednesday.

By the time I got there, there were already three guys, killing time before the start by chatting to the night’s instructor, Tim, who works at the store as a mechanic. Two of them had brought their own bikes, but if you couldn’t bring along yours, not to worry, there’s always a spare bike around, on which the newly acquired skills can be practiced, but it’s always advised to bring your own bike, so you can keep things relevant.

The course was to cover four main topics: inner tube replacement, barrel adjustment for gears/checkign the drivetrain, barrel adjustment for brakes and finally, cleaning the bike.

The course is about to start.

Customers, who hadn't brought their bikes, were given bikes to practice on.

First Tim showed how it should be done...

... then everybody was given a chance to practice on their own bikes.

If someone got stuck, Tim was always nearby to help out.

After sorting out inner tubes, the drivetrain was next in line. Tim showcases the chain wear indicator tool.

After cleaning the chain, it's paramount to lube the chain properly.

Adjusting the gears is a way less cumbersome task than most people think.

Tim messed up the gears and the participants had to re-adjust it - everybody succeeded!

Adjusting the brake cable barrel.

Showcasing brake pad adjustment

Finally, Tim gave a couple of general advice, how to set up a bike properly.

At the end of the course, I asked a couple of participants what they thought of it.

Franco

Evanscycles How long have you been cycling?
Franco
For years. I started with a Raleigh when I was 15.

Evanscycles When did you buy this bike?
Franco
Approximately two years ago, at Evans Cycles

Evanscycles What were your expectations of the course?
Franco
I just thought I’d get some basic maintenance tips but I found it more enlightening, because I learnt things which I thought I was doing right but I was wrong.

Evanscycles What motivated you to start to look after your bike yourself?
Franco
I’ve always known that I should maintain my bike but I’ve never actually got to it. I looked at guides on the internet at a similar level, but reading a guide and actually having someone to show you what you were doing wrong is very different. For example, changing a tyre or gears, especially gears.

Evanscycles How did you find the course itself?
Franco
It was very informative, because you have someone who has been dealing with bikes for years and you can learn stuff that you wouldn’t be able to pick up otherwise.

Artium

Evanscycles How long have you been cycling?
Artium
I used to ride a bike, back when I was young, years ago.  Right now, I started only one and a half months ago.

Evanscycles Why did you decide to join the course?
Artium
I just wanted to make sure that I do things right on my bike, I need my bike for commuting, so I need to make sure that it’s in a good condition.

Evanscycles What were your expectations of the course?
Franco
I didn’t know much beforehand, I know it’s going to be about cleaning, the brakes and the gears, but it was pretty much what I wanted and I got more than I expected.

Evanscycles How did you find the course itself?
Artium
I think it was perfect, I got everything I wanted and whenever we had a question, it was answered properly and it wasn’t boring, it was actually fun and using our own bikes was really useful, so not just have heard the theory, we also have now hands-on experience.

If you think you could learn an interesting maintenance trick or two, don’t hesitate, check out our Fix It page, that contains the dates our shops hold these courses.