Bicycle Maintenance

2012 January 24
by Chris Vernon

Bicycles are great. I ride mine almost every day. To the office, around town, in the countryside, to the allotment, with friends or on my own. The sad truth however, is that an awful lot of people who could ride bikes, don’t. In the UK only 2% of journeys are made by bicycle, compared with 9% in Sweden, Finland and Germany and 25% in the Netherlands (Bassett et al. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2008). Along with our lacklustre use of renewable energy, our cycling rates are also languishing at the bottom of the European table. I’d like, and expect, to see more people riding as energy prices rise, the economy continues to struggle and environmental pressures (both local and global) increase. A five-fold increase sounds incredible, but would only equal what many other European countries are already doing, and still represent only half the amount of cycling the best countries manage. It is achievable.

In April last year I spent two weeks in Lincolnshire with Alf and Teresa Webb at The Bike Inn completing my City & Guild’s qualifications in Cycle Mechanics.

Two weeks at The Bike Inn, Lincolnshire

City & Guilds Level 1& 2 Cycle Mechanics (3902) and The Bike Inn ‘Certificate of Attainment’

Since completing the training I’ve been working with Ross Taylor of Taylored Cycles offering the award winning Bristol University Cycle Surgery to staff and students and volunteering with The Bristol Bike Project.

Bristol University Cycle Surgery

Bristol University Cycle Surgery

The Bristol Bike Project also won an award. We won the Grassroots category of the 2011 Observer Ethical Awards and here’s the video:

Tools are important and I now have a fairly comprehensive toolbox. I’ve also recently built a bicycle wheel truing stand, more details here: bicycle wheel truing stand for building and repairing wheels. The only tools I’m still lacking are for the headset (press, remover, star nut fitter…), frame preparing tools (bottom bracket taps, crown race cutter) and the all important workstand!

This year I’m venturing into the world of frame building, with a one week course, again in Lincolnshire with Dave Yates and another with the soon to be opened Bicycle Academy. I say soon to be opened as they are currently setting up their workshop following a fantastically successfully crowd funding. They succeeded in raising over £40,000 in under a week though the new project.

Watch this space for my adventures in frame building!

Hat tip, James, Bristol Bike Project 🙂

4 Responses leave one →
  1. January 24, 2012

    Chris, good to read your bike bloggage. Like you, I’ve got my C&G and I thought I’d mention to you that there are homespun headset presses on ebay for not much money. You don’t really need a star nut insertion tool in my opinion and frame prep tools cost a fortune. I have a Park stand and it’s absolutely brilliant (PCS10). I think that the tool you don’t see much that’s worth its weight is the gear hanger alignment tool – so many times that’s bent and screws with the gear changing. The other really useful one is the dropout alignment tool (I have a pair of these and it can be used on forks as well. Misaligned wheels suck energy from the rider.

    Be good to hear how the framebuilding course goes. I’ve been tempted and having worked on a Dave Yates custom frame, I know just how good he is.

    Incidentally, check out for my exploits in the Totnes market – encouraging the gift economy.

    Cheers. Ben.

  2. Chris Vernon permalink*
    January 24, 2012

    Good to hear from you Ben – your setup in Totnes looks fantastic! I should come down for a Saturday this year and give you a hand. 🙂

  3. Will Stewart permalink
    January 25, 2012

    Bike mechanic demand will continue to rise as more and more people realize the savings, especially as prices continue to rise this year. Taking the class was a great long term strategy.

  4. January 26, 2012

    Keen on doing any guest blogs at all for us?

    Going to set up a dedicated section all about biking on the future website to alongside the general news and happenings of ‘pedal power’ stuff

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