5 reasons to learn bike maintenance

Whatever kind of cyclist you are (or hope to become!), having the ability to maintain and repair your bike has loads of benefits. Here are our top five:

1. Save money. Many routine repairs and adjustments can be done at home with just a few basic tools. Catching problems early will prevent them turning into major (and expensive!) issues. For example, regularly replacing your brake pads and chain will keep more expensive bike parts happy for longer. We teach when and how to do these on our intro courses, so a small investment now could save you further down the line. For the more in-depth jobs, you can visit a community bike workshop – such as our sister project, Pedallers’ Arms – to access the lesser-used and more expensive tools that you don’t need to own yourself. Our 2-day course is £125; you could easily pay that for a professional service, but if you choose the course you’ll end up with a fully serviced bike plus the skills to do it again next time!

Safety Bicycle
Things have moved on a bit since 1887… but the safety bike is still going strong 🙂

2. It makes your bike safer to ride. The ability to spot and fix wear & tear early on is very, very valuable – not just for your wallet but for your safety (and those around you!). The thing about bikes is, small routine issues can snowball into big major issues if left unchecked. Given time, that annoying but innocent squeak could end up being something much worse – and we’ve seen some pretty alarming things in our time! Regular health checks and replacement of a few key parts are easy to do; your bike will thank you for it, and reward you with many more miles happy cycling!

3. It makes your bike a pleasure to ride. Safety first, naturally, but once that’s sorted, let’s not forget the all important comfort-factor. Loads of people end up on bikes that aren’t the right fit or aren’t adjusted to their needs (people are very adaptable!). Or in many cases, people just stop cycling because, frankly, it’s a pain in the arse if your brakes constantly rub or your chain keeps falling off. Whatever your reason for cycling, the right size bike, saddle and handlebar position, accessories and luggage solutions can make all the difference to how you experience – and enjoy – cycling. Learning bike maintenance will help you understand how your bike is put together, and what you can do to make it work better for you.

We reckon these top three reasons are the real culprits behind all the cobwebbed bikes sat in sheds across the nation. Unsafe, uncomfortable, expensive to repair bicycles would put off any ordinary person… but it doesn’t have to be that way. A bike maintenance course is a great little investment in yourself and your cycling future. Once you’ve got to grips with your bike, you’ll discover the real hidden joys from learning bike maintenance…

4. Get practical skills. I’ve lost count of how many new visitors to the workshop have told me “I don’t have a mechanical mind” or some such. They may be right – we are all blessed with different strengths after all 😉 – but the good news is, it doesn’t actually matter. A lot of bike maintenance is really simple stuff. If you don’t have any practical skills, bikes are a great entry point. Its parts are mostly very visible, you can clearly see how things connect, and with a bit of explanation, a few tools and some practise you can know your way around a bike quicker than you’d think. You may then be surprised at how quickly this knowledge becomes useful in other contexts… and you’ll be on your way to becoming a practical, problem-solving DIY expert.

Brompton in the mountains
A foldy in the mountains, whatever next…

5. Independence. Ultimately, learning bike maintenance can make you a much more self-sufficient cyclist. This can mean gaining the confidence to cycle more regularly and further afield. Understanding the machine you’re balanced on can be truly liberating; you may end up exploring by bike places you never imagined you could go before. We think bike maintenance can be really empowering and welcome anyone who wants to learn with us 🙂

If you are interested in learning more about bike maintenance, check out our upcoming dates and more info about the courses we currently offer.

Don’t just take our word for it! Some comments from previous course participants…

“I now feel confident about setting up gears & brakes. I now realise that with the right tools and practice, bike servicing isn’t as intimidating as I first though.” 16-hour course participant

“I learned about many aspects of bike maintenance that has increased my confidence willingness to cycle” 16-hour course participant

“This is a really useful and interesting course and has significantly increased my confidence to fix my own bike and help others fixing theirs.” 16-hour course participant

“Really enjoyable and rewarding course, very good trainer knowledge, and particularly useful to work on own bike.” 16-hour course participant

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