Monday, 9 February 2015

Bike Maintenance Class

I am not a bike person. Despite having done a few triathlons a duathlon and one other cycling challenge I'm fairly clueless about bikes. I've owned various second hand hybrids over the years but when I bought my first road bike, despite the relatively small amount of money I spent on it, I was determined to learn how to look after it properly. Fast forward a few months and I've taken advantage of some cycle training provided by my local authority but I still really know next to nothing about the workings of the machine, or what to do if things go wrong.
I have a book on vehicle maintenance and have read several articles on how to fix a puncture but it's never sunk in. What I needed was some real-life demonstration and hands-on practice. There are quite a lot of bike maintenance classes around once you start to look. They range from free or cheap Council run initiatives to pricier evening classes. I looked at the offerings at my local bike store and council but couldn't make the dates so decided to try out the class offered by Evans Cycles.

The Evans Cycles FixIt! classes run regularly, last one hour and cost £15. You cover the real basics of bike maintenance and get sent home with a home maintenance starter kit worth over £15 and a training manual. You don't even need to take your bike along. My availability meant that I ended up in a women only class. I would have been just as happy in a mixed class but I know some women may feel more comfortable with asking questions in this environment.
Instructor Ella
Classes are kept quite small but there were only two of us booked in this particular evening. Our teacher was the lovely Ella, who was very friendly and approachable, she didn't assume we knew anything but didn't patronise us either; the tone was spot on. After the offer of a cup of tea we were shown into the workshop area of the store where a bike was set up in a stand ready for us to practice on. Ella went right back to basics, teaching us about the components of a bike and how to carry out your pre-ride or 'M' check before moving on to cleaning and re-lubing, changing an inner tube to fix a puncture and brake and gear adjustment (the thing I was most keen to learn). Plenty of demonstration and chances to try our hand at various tasks too.
Practicing adjustments.
As the class was so small we covered the material pretty quickly which left plenty of time for asking questions. I learnt how many lumens you need to see by (200 minimum), whether it's ever going to get any easier to get my feet into my toe clip pedals (no, I'm probably going to have to be brave and get cleats), how bike shoes differ with price and what all the cool kids are wearing in terms of hi-viz gear these days.

I left at the end of the hour feeling so much more confident. I now feel capable of fixing that annoying clicking noise my bike's been making and equipped to clean and look after it properly. This was a great introduction for the nervous cyclist and well worth doing. If you're a more competent cyclist then you probably won't get much from these sessions and would be better off looking at one of the more comprehensive courses on offer with another provider. I'd highly recommend checking out your local bike independent shop to see what they offer.
Goody bag
Have you ever taken a bike maintenance class or have you just picked things up along the way?


  1. Hi :)

    Thanks for posting this review I've been considering going to one of the FixIt! classes and this has helped to make my mind up!

    I've just bought my first road bike and realised that I haven't a clue how to keep it up and running...

    I'm blogging about my attempt to become a proper cyclist at if you fancy a read :)

    Thanks again


    1. Hi Kimberley, thanks so much for your comment. Glad you found the review helpful!
      Had a brief look at your blog... will definitely be reading it properly. Already seen a couple of things that have made me think "oh good it's not just me" ;)
      Take care

    2. Thanks! I only just saw your comment on my pedals post :p

      I'm booked onto a fixit class this Sunday after spending 15 minutes trying and failing to get my rear wheel back on properly :s

      Thanks again for the recommendation - I'll be sure to keep reading for more good advice :)


  2. A bike maintenance class sounds fantastic! You may want to hop over to this website they have some great bikes!

  3. A bike maintenance class sounds fantastic! You may want to hop over to this website they have some great bikes!