Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Cycle maintenance weekend...

Gary was at my house by 8.00am on Saturday morning - and it should have been a relatively simple task to get my bikes loaded onto his car. Of course it wasn't that simple, there was much tooing and froing, the bikes were lifted up, taken down, roof rack adjusted, bikes up again.... and back down again etc etc - until finally we managed to get them all on, with just the handlebars kissing, we were on our way to Stamford in Lincolnshire for two days tuition on how to look after our bikes, under the expert tutelage of Mr Neil Exton from 'All Geared Up' which is a mobile cycle repair and maintenance business.

We were a little bit late arriving due to the problems loading up - but we were immediately made welcome with a nice cup of coffee and a quick introduction to the course; what we'd be covering, what tools we'd be using, safety in the workshop and the workstations we would be using. I scribbled hasty notes as we went along and soon we had our older bikes up on the workstands ready for action. I had the most to do on Saturday; remove my crankset and bottom bracket - replacing both. A new rear cassette and chain, new gear cable and brake cable, new brake blocks and check and adjust the gearing. It doesn't sound much but it took the rest of the day to work slowly through the list. We were fuelled by more coffee and sausage rolls courtesy of Mrs Exton before we had a short break for lunch. We worked on until around 4.30pm, then we loaded our two older bikes onto the car and headed for home. When I got back I quickly took my bike out for a few miles just to see how it felt. The brakes are fantastic now - especially the rear one which wasn't doing a job at all of recent. The gears all seemed crisp and accurate, no annoying rattles or clicks - yes - it had been a good, worthwhile day - and the prospect of more for tomorrow was certainly pleasing.

We were early getting to Neil's on Sunday, but no matter, our newer road bikes were there waiting for us, already cradled in their workstands - Neil had took the time to sabotage our front and rear mech's - our first job was to diagnose and remedy the problems he had created!!! Once we'd worked through that my day was relatively easy - remove chain, clean and reattach (no need to replace) tweak up the gear indexing and adjust accordingly, check brakes, remove and lubricate gear and brake cable, and replace the handlebar tape. A pretty easy day then - Gary had it tougher - he was replacing two of his chainrings, a new chain, rear cassette, fit new wheels and add a new cassette to his old rear wheel - plus servicing of breaks and gears. It was another thoroughly enjoyable day. At the end Gary purchased a work stand from Neil and we stocked up on brake and gear cables and grease!

We both feel confident enough to carry out a future service now - I have to say both of my bikes have never felt better!

If anyone is interested in booking a Cycle Maintenance course speak to Neil on 01780 757359
or visit his web site at www.all-geared-up.co.uk

Here're a few photo's and some video of our weekend there.

Car loaded, about to set off

Gary at work

Gary admires his handiwork

Neil and Paul

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