My good friend John Hayes, who long term readers will remember is my summer cycling buddy and who works for Moulton Cycles, came along to one of our Explorer Scouts meetings in order to give a talk on ‘looking after your bike’.
He turned up with a toolbox and stand, looking lean and keen, and I provided tubes, lubes and cleaners. First the Explorers gathered round while John took everyone through cleaning the bike, lubing and simple maintenance. He talked about the basic mistakes that people make, damp in the cables, dirty chains and soft tyres. Then he moved onto how to get some longevity out of your bicycle, mainly through the use of GT85 to chase out water and give a teflon coating. Mike’s chain was pretty filthy, so it was a good opportunity to use it as an example of how to clean and maintain a chain.
All the Explorers had brought along their bikes, and soon we had them all upside-down and John was getting everyone to check over their bikes, clean out the water and muck and relube.
The chain is clean, now the dry lube goes on
John then got out his spanners and went round adjusting brakes (including mine, the back blocks had been worn right down in a month by the grit from the muddy roads), sorting out gears and recommending which bikes needed attention from a bike shop (including one that needs a complete wheel rebuild – but that was a 1980s Peugeot). He also shortened Howard’s bike’s chain by two links and sorted out his gear problems.
John sorts a rear mech
By the end of the night the Explorers departed with bikes in a much better condition than when they arrived, and hopefully John’s talk has inspired them into looking after the bikes a bit better. It was good to see teenagers who had no real bike knowledge gaining confidence as they found their way around the components. Even the simple act of inflating the tyres to the correct psi (45 for knobblies, 85-100 for slicks) gave an instant and marked improvement to every bike. They took them for an excited spin round the car park at ten, and I think all of them were delighted, the thanks they gave John was certainly ethusive and genuine. From Mike’s and my point of view, we certainly felt a lot more confident about the forthcoming cycle trip to Belgium and France, knowing John had given the bikes a good look over.
Afterwards Mike and I took John to the pub for a couple of pints. We left at 23:30 and, as Mike and I both had our steeds and full kit, we briefly considered a quick night ride, luckily the cold wind instantly disuaded us from this excellent, but ultimately foolish idea.
A great evening, cheers John.