Darren Wing was ahead of the game when he realised that jobs at Holden were not going to last and he decided to put his mechanical skills to good use - as a mobile bike mechanic. It's been over a year now since he left Holden and started this exciting new venture. We ask Darren for some essential tips on bike love and care.
What should you do to get your bike in tip top condition for a ride? What sort of rattles/issues should you look out for?
- Keeping your bike up to date with servicing is very important. By regularly servicing you will keep up with the items on your bike that require constant attention. Things like tyres, drive lines (chain and cassettes) and brakes require regular attention. All these items are classed as consumables and will wear out.
- Keep that chain lubed with a quality chain lube - this ensures a long life for the chain and less effort from you the cyclist.
- Keep the tyre pressures at there optimum pressure - this varies for different disciplines. Road bike pressures are far greater than mountain bikes. This prevents tyre damage and helps avoid annoying punctures.
- Brakes are hugely important. Ensure your brakes are adjusted well and the levers are set where you like them - everybody is different on this one - some people like a firm lever and the brake to come on quickly while others like the levers to travel a bit so they can 'feather' their levers. Hand size plays a part in this.
- If your bike is squeaking, creaking or rattling - this is a sign of something needing lubrication or tightening. Small amounts of corrosion can form on bearings in various places on the bike (ie, head set or bottom bracket). Get these seen to quickly as lubrication will often eliminate the issue. Ignoring them will certainly lead to part failure with a cost attached. Also a squeaking bike will just drive you nuts on that long ride!
- Keep your bike clean - dirt and grit are the mortal enemy of moving parts.
How often should you service your bike. Annually? Monthly?
- Servicing frequency depend on the amount of riding you do and the conditions you ride in.
- If you are a daily commuter and doing approx. 100 kms a week in varied conditions (wet/dry) it would be wise to check your bike weekly. (lube chain, check tyre pressures and wash it) and service 3 monthly.
- If you are a weekend road rider - then 6 monthly would be OK.
- Just riding a few times a month - then an annual or 6 monthly service would be fine.
- If you are a riding a MTB on forest trails then you should really look over the bike every time you ride. These are more extreme conditions and equipment failure can be dangerous and expensive. Servicing 3 monthly.
How much is too much to pay for a bike service?
- Bike servicing costs vary depending on the condition of your bike at the time of the service and the age of the bike.
- A standard service will cost you about $90 to $100 (plus parts). This covers cleaning, lubrication and adjustment of the gears. Checking and tuning of the wheels. Brake adjustment. Cleaning the frame and wheels. Checking all other moving parts and fasteners. This normally takes about 1 to 1 1/2hrs
- If your bike is well loved and really needs some attention or clocks up high km's then I would suggest the major service. There is a lot more dismantling of the bike done here with bearings removed and greased including the head set, wheels and bottom bracket. The derailleur removed and cleaned etc. A comprehensive service.
- If you understand your bike a bit more you can also just have certain elements of the bike serviced - these type of services attract an hourly rate and can be the cheaper option for minor issues. Pricing at $80 per hour.
- To help keep prices down I also offer multiple bike discounts - 2 or more bikes at the one place you get $10 off the service price for the second and subsequent bikes.
- Older bikes can be a little more difficult to service especially if parts are required as some of the older parts aren't always available so replacement with newer parts can be tricky to interface and a little costly as more time is required. There is nothing wrong with fixing your trusty old bike.
- Many of my customer like to stay around while I work on their bikes - I don't mind this at all as it gives the owner an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about what to do between those service intervals.
What are your top 3 DIY tips for the amateur cyclist?
- Learn about the basic principles of your bike and its working - it's not as difficult as it seems. Bike SA run excellent courses to assist with this. There is also lots of info on the internet.
- Lubricate your chain regularly and keep tyre pressures maintained. Purchasing a good quality chain lube and pump from your local bike shop is a great investment and makes this very easy.
- Listen to your bike while you are riding - if it doesn't feel or sound right then it probably isn't. Get this seen to quickly so a small problem doesn't get out of hand.
Number 1 rule of riding a bike - Get out there and enjoy it!!
We're looking forward to having Darren from Adelaide Mobile Bicycle Service, along with Bert from Oxygen Cycles in McLaren Vale, Anthony from Elbows Akimbo and Aaron from Master Cycle Mechanic all helping us out on Amy's Ride SA.
If you've got a bike in the shed that needs some TLC, give one of them a call.
Mention that you're preparing for Amy's Ride and show your proof of registration and they'll give you 10% discount on the cost of a basic service and 10% discount on any parts or accessories.