I’d be riding my bike and these thoughts would be running through my head:
- “I really need to adjust my brakes, I’m pulling them far back and its taking too long for my bike to come to a stop”
- “I’d love to replace my front tyre, I wonder whether it is too worn to ride any more but I’m worried replacement will be expensive.”
- “I should really give my bike a clean, but how on earth am I supposed to do that when I live in a flat on the fourth floor”
- “My chain keeps rattling when I’m in that gear and it is too slow to change. I wish it would shift smoothly like the first day I bought it”
- “What is that strange creak coming from near the pedals, I hope my bike can get me to work”
I wasn’t able to just relax and enjoy my bike ride. One of the favourite parts of my day.
These days, there’s a very different thought running through my mind:
- “Ahhh, the pleasure of a noise free bike. I love that comforting feeling of brakes that bring me to a safe halt when I pull them and nothing but the rhythmic, gentle sound of my wheels spinning to accompany my ride”
How did I get there?
I believe I took much the same course as many other cyclists. After trying to ignore the problem (that didn’t last long) and then speaking to an employee in a bike shop (I checked behind my sofa and couldn’t find a spare £100) I loaded up YouTube searching for solutions.
There were some good videos in there, but the quality really varied. I tried a few things but it never really tied everything together for me in a way I could really get a whole overview of what I needed to do for my bike.
My confidence never really grew.
I even bought a few bike maintenance books, but I didn’t really get it and I just thought to myself “I guess bike maintenance is one of those things that only mechanically minded people can do”.
I remember the day when everything changed. Something just clicked in my mind.
Suddenly I was thinking “wow, there really isn’t that much to it. There are some really basic things I can do here, that make a big difference, how come it has taken me so long to get it?”
It was after I’d taken a two day bike maintenance course costing £200. The course presented everything in a way I could really understand. It wasn’t just separate bits of little knowledge in YouTube videos, it was an entire system for looking after my bike myself.
The course gave me the confidence boost I needed. From the basics such as puncture repairs (I was forgetting to really check the inside of my tyre to make sure I don’t get a repeat puncture 5 metres down the road) to more advanced repairs such as replacing a creaking bottom bracket.
It explained things in such a way that finally made perfect sense to me. After the course I was able to identify problems by knowing what symptoms to look out for and then take the steps needed to fix the problem.
It was a great feeling knowing I no longer had to rely on the local bike shop having some time to repair my bike. I knew I could handle it myself.
I also immediately knew I wanted to bring this course to London Cyclist readers, as so many had told me about maintenance issues they were having. However, I felt the course shouldn’t cost £200 and people should be able to access it at any time from home.
Tomorrow, I’ll be revealing how you can be one of the first people to get access.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.