I've been doing a bike maintenance course at my local sixth form college. I'm loving it. I'm properly impressed too at the college for daring to be different and put this course on. Ten weeks, two hours a week, every Tuesday night a room full of middle aged folk come together with a shonky basic bike (provided by the college), a bike stand and a small bike tool kit (again both supplied by the college).
The course has given me huge amounts of confidence. I missed the first week, but fearlessly arrived at the second week hopeful that my late start wouldn't have me standing in the corner with the dunces hat on. It didn't. Each week has slightly separate subjects, not all of which rely on prior knowledge from an earlier week. You can, in fact, almost pick and mix.
We have done:
Bottom Bracket servicing
Head set servicing
Wheel trueing (kind of)
Brake cable replacement
There's probably other stuff too which I have simply absorbed.
The fun bit starts now we start to bring our own bikes in for servicing. We are an eclectic mix of people. There's the woman trying to learn so she can service her family's fleet of bicycles, we have a triathlete ironman chap, we have a Dawes touring bike man who does thousands of kilometres, we have a woman who routinely travels around Manchester on her fixie, we have two mates whose mountain bikes are mouldering in their respective garages. We're a nice bunch of folk.
Last week I rode in (all of a mile) on the hardtail MTB to show and tell. The wheels and pedals were approved of. Which makes me chuckle, because when you're riding with Annie Last's second hand wheels they really ought to muster a little respect. Although I never mentioned that. This week I plan on riding in on the Trek Hybrid. It's a bit of a contrast from the MTB, but it does have a new back brake and brake cable and a new chain, all carefully fitted by yours truly. It is an ugly beast, mostly made that way by the aluminium welding of slightly over the top proportions. I may hit the high point for the last lesson by borrowing the lodger's 1980s vintage steel road bike, complete with downtube frame shifters and internal cabling. For extra kudos, it is pink.
Let's see if I can win at show and tell.