Bicycle Repair Classes

Classes for February start on Saturday, February 2nd and Tuesday, February 5th.

Here's one of the first things you need to know:
Bicycle Safety Check (PDF 8k)

Here is the other:
How to change a flat (external link)

There's no substitute for hands-on practice though, so that's what you'll find here: our Shop Class series will teach you everything you need to know to maintain and tune-up your bike, and entitles you to use the OCBC shop to do so.

The series of four classes may be taken on Saturdays from 4 to 6pm or Tuesdays from 7:00 to 9:00pm. The series begin on the first Saturday and first Tuesday of every month (except if holidays interfere) and repeat every month, year-round. (The first class in the series always runs a bit long, as it covers the mechanical prerequisite for our Bike Driver's Ed class, and is also our bike-purchasers' free "owner's manual," so allow more like three hours — snacks will be served!).

Shop classes are best taken in order, especially for beginners, but this is not required.

There is no need to pre-register for classes if you are starting at the beginning of the series. Just come to the co-op a bit before the first class, (usually) on the first Tuesday or first Saturday of the month.

Class size is limited, and students should bring their own bikes, or may work on one of the Co-op's. If you are planning to start with a class other than the first, call or email the shop to make sure that the class will be held; we will teach the first class to any number of students, but if there is only one person (or no one) at the first class, we will cancel the rest of the series.

The cost is $20/ class, or you may pay with volunteer hours. Current members may re-take classes as often as they wish for free.

There are brief descriptions on this page, or you can

look at more detailed outlines here.

1st week: Intro to bike maintenance

(Free for anyone, prerequisite for class series and Bike Drivers' Ed. Days and times vary, see schedule above or calendar for details)
  • Basic mechanical principals
  • Fit adjustments for comfort and efficiency
  • Lubing chain
  • Airing tires
  • Safety Check

Also 1st week: Tires and Flats

(Included with bike purchase; prerequisite for Bike Drivers' Ed)
  • Hands-on remove and replace wheels, with bike on the ground
  • Tire assessment
  • Causes of flats
  • Hands-on tire and tube change

This class will prepare you to fix the most frequent bike problem - flats. You will also learn how to make sure your bike is mechanically safe, and fits properly.

2nd week: Wheels and Bearings

  • How to use the work stands and shop tools
  • Hands-on remove and replace wheels, in the work stand
  • Bearing types, function and assessment
  • Bearing inspection and hands-on adjustment.
  • Wheel and rim types and assessment
  • Demonstration of wheel truing
  • Hands-on spoke and rim maintenance.

This class covers how bearings work, and wear out; and how to keep wheels from wobbling — two of the more mysterious aspects of bike repair for most folks.

3rd week: Cables and Brakes

  • Cable types, function, and assessment
  • Hands-on cable maintenance and adjustment
  • Brake types, function and assessment
  • Hands-on brake pad maintenance and adjustment

This class covers the most vexing and mishandled repair jobs on the bike: you will learn the proper use of tools and how to avoid dangerous and time-consuming mistakes.

4th week: Drivetrain

  • Chain function and assessment
  • Hands-on cleaning and lubrication, and chain breaking
  • Types, function and assessment of:
    • Bottom bracket
    • Gears
    • Shifters
    • Derailleurs
  • Hands-on maintenance and adjustment

This class covers the most complex bike system - you will learn how to keep your bike in top shape for the longest time possible. Best to have taken the other classes first, as it will be assumed you have knowledge of bearings and cables.

Why take these classes?

Understanding what can go wrong with your bike and what the symptoms are, which are safety issues and which are economic issues, and giving enough hands-on practice to help you remember basic tasks is the focus of this class series. To really learn how to fix a bike though, you have to do it a few times, so we encourage students to volunteer at our Wednesday evening Apprentice nights, when you'll work together with a more skilled mechanic on bikes for our programs or for sale.

Taking the course of Basic Shop classes is also what constitutes co-op membership, so you must take them before extensively using the shop facilities for personal projects. (If you are an experienced mechanic, you can test out of the classes by tuning up one of our bikes for sale — and get volunteer credit while you do so — and only pay the $40 supporting membership fee to use the shop and tools.) Once you have taken all four classes you can get help ad hoc to learn anything that was not covered — for example, if you want to build a fixed-gear on the cheap (external link).

The goal is for all members to have basic repair skills, so we don't have to charge labor to members for individual instruction, as some other co-ops do; and for all members to know what the classes cover, so they can help each other.

Created by: pgarver. Last Modification: Wednesday 16 of January, 2008 18:47:42 UTC by JSheehan.
The original document is available at