Doing your own routine bike maintenance has many benefits. You can instantly fix your bike, without relying on the timetable of the local bike shop. You can save significant amounts of money on bike shop repairs. It can also be reassuring to know that if something goes wrong, you can fix it. So why don’t more people maintain their bikes themselves?
This was a question I set out to find the answer to, when we surveyed over 1000 London Cyclist readers about their bike maintenance habits.
The findings below are incredibly interesting and they are also the basis of a new online bike maintenance course that we’ve designed and will be launching soon.
Feel I’ll mess things up and it will be embarrassing to go to a bike shop to fix it
We’ve all had that moment where we’ve been putting together some Ikea furniture and we suddenly become stuck. With a puzzled look on our faces we consult the manual and then go and make a cup of tea, promising to do it later. On your bike, that’s your means of transport to work. It can’t wait till later.
There’s also a fear of messing something up and then been laughed at the local bike shop. Personally, I’d change my local bike shop if I was expecting to be treated like that, but that’s an issue for another blog post.
My wheel will fly off as I pedal down the road
“Still slightly scared I’m not doing things properly and that half way through my commute to work my bike will just fall apart!”
This is another common concern, and very similar to the one above. However, this is where the M-Check comes in so useful. It’s a simple checklist you can follow to discover any issues with your bike and make sure it is safe to ride. I’ll be sharing the M-Check video from our bike maintenance course here on the site next week.
I don’t have the space
“Space and the Mrs objection to using the hall as a workshop”
A concern that I can really relate to is a lack of space to maintain your bike. This is especially true in London. Bikes can be messy and take up a lot of space. If you’ve not got a garden or garage, then it’s hard to find a spot to maintain your bike. We’ll cover solutions inside the course.
Lack of tools
“Having all 1001 tools needed to do any repair that isn’t changing a tire and even then you need tire levers.”
A decent, full bicycle maintenance toolkit will set you back around £90. There are places in London, such as the London Bike Kitchen, where you have access to the tools you need to maintain your bike. However, that may be a little far away. There’s no easy way around this, other than to bite the bullet and buy the kit. You’ll make your investment back after two or three repairs. Another option is to start off with a cheaper kit at half the price and go from there. I bought my tool kit for around £90 and since then I’ve done countless repairs and even built my own single speed bike!
Don’t have the time
“The time it might take – I’d like to take a basic maintenance course but it’s hard to find the time!”
A number of respondents said they simply didn’t have the time. That’s understandable, everyone is busy these days. Bicycle maintenance definitely feels rather slow at first during the early hesitant stages. However, once you get past that initial hurdle, you grow in confidence. From then, armed with the right knowledge, you feel more willing to dive in and complete the repair.
Lack of knowledge
“I lack a real knowledge but I would love to learn.”
This is the most obvious one but I hope most people are open to learning!
I’m sure a few people will be able to relate to the above objections. I’ll have more details on the course we’ll be launching soon. If you’d like to be the first to know about it, please make sure you are subscribed to the newsletter below.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.