Aside from saving money, getting to know your bike is a really enjoyable new skill to learn. It feels empowering to be able to spot and solve problems with your bike, without needing to take it to a mechanic.
As with everything in London, there’s no shortage of fantastic bike workshops to choose from. We’ve listed a few here that we think are great, but if you know of any more, please do comment below and let and others know.
London Cycling Campaign
The various local branches that are apart of the London Cycling Campaign offer regular and free bike maintenance sessions and workshops. From Islington to Lewisham to Kentish Town to Deptford you can find free drop-in sessions that provide bike mechanics to help you fix you bike or lessons on bike maintenance. Even better you can bring along any new parts you need to fix and work with an expert who will both help you make any repairs and teach you about what’s going on along the way.
To find your nearest workshop, check out the events section of the London Cycling Campaign
London Bike Kitchen (Hoxton)
What’s a better way to get to know a bike than to build it from scratch? Building something from the ground up is not only a great way to learn loads of new skills, but it’s incredibly satisfying. If you just want to focus on one part of your bike, say breaks or gears or bearing systems, there’s specific classes that focus just on that. Additionally they have drop-in sessions where for £12, you can drop in and work with a mechanic on a number of things. They also have handy “Quickie Classes” where for £20 you can learn things like how to fix a puncture or change your break pads. As you might be able to tell we’re quite excited about London Bike Kitchen and we think there’s good reason to. LBKs “Do-It-Together” approach to learning and providing a service is a nice change of pace. To check out all the different types of classes they offer, head over to the LBK website.
Dr Bike (Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham)
A big upfront disclaimer here – you need to live in either of the above boroughs to take advantage of Dr Bike. However if you do, then you’re in luck because Dr. Bike, part of Bikeminded, offers a number of free courses and free maintenance sessions for residents. For the maintenance courses – there are two and you need to do the first one before proceeding to the second. They cover everything from fixing a puncture on the roadside to setting up new brakes systems. Their Dr. Bike drop-in sessions occur regularly over various parts of the two boroughs and give residents the opportunity for a free bike check-up.
For more information on both the drop-in sessions and the maintenance courses head over to the Bikeminded website.
Cycle Confident is an awesome training organisation all over London that wants to help people unlock the city by bike. In addition to general cycling classes the offer a number of bike maintenance workshops. Their main training centre is right opposite Oval underground and for a fiver you can learn useful things like quick check-ups, brake cleaning/adjustments or puncture repairs. The £5 sessions are only 30 minutes long so if you do want to go a bit deeper, get hands on with your bike, and spend time learning more they do offer full day sessions for £18, which is incredibly good value for money. The slight catch is the £18 sessions are sponsored by a variety of boroughs, so they naturally limited to the residents of those boroughs but its worth popping over to their site to see everything they offer.
Look Mum No Hands (Old Street)
Look Mum No Hands has it all – bike shop, café, workspace. It’s a great little spot that’s worth checking out if you’re in the area. They also offer very good bike maintenance workshops. These ones are a little on the pricer side, at £75 – but you do get some extra perks you don’t get with others such as a free toolkit, which always is useful if you want to take bike maintenance seriously. As well as free tools, you get an incredible amount of knowledge that covers a variety of topics usually spread over two courses in some other places. The sessions are six hours long held at their great pad near Old Street and you can find out more info or book, check out the events part of their website.
Bikeworks (Tower Hamlets & Kensington)
Bikeworks is another awesome organisation that wants to empower people through cycling. It’s a non-for-profit based in Bethnal Green but also have another shop near Latimer road in Kensington and regularly run very thorough bike maintenance and building courses.The courses in Bethnal Green are six hours long and £60 each. It’s advised you bring along your own bike to work on, which means you the teachings can be more effective for everyday use. The courses in Kensington are free but only to residents of the borough.They also offer a wheel-building course (same pricing) so if you’ve been itching to learn how to get back to your caveman roots and build a wheel, then this is the place for you. All courses provide you with a proper workstation, the right tools and parts, and of course friendly instructors to help you get the most from the session.
Check out more info on the courses, have a look at the Bikeworks website.
London Bike Hub (Greenford)
London Bike Hub is another great non-for-profit based in West London that is working to embed cycling into communities. It works everyone – offering courses to individuals, London boroughs, companies and larger organisations like the UK Armed Forces – they’re experts at what they do.For individuals looking to scrub up on their bike skills, or just scrub up their bike – they offer a range of classes from basic maintenance and Brompton bike maintenance to more advanced, two-day classes like build-a-bike and wheel building – possibly the most expansive list of bike maintenance courses around. Most of the basic classes are £25 although they’re looking to introduce some free classes in 2018 – making their expertise even more accessible. They have a lot more information about all of their classes over on the London BIke Hub website.
If you’re still not sure if workshops are worth the investment, take a peek into one we attended. Boroughs do offer a lot of free cycling-related help and often its not all online so do call your local council up to see if there might be any free courses closer to where you live.