In which I anticipate a day on motorbikes
Yesterday, I took my bike on the train to Waterloo, and cycled in London for the first time. It was actually pretty pleasant - I was a bit nervous about the traffic, but I chose my route well. I went along the south bank, and near the Golden Hinde I changed to go along the road (with good cycle lanes). My reason for going in was that I was booked in on a cycle training course, concentrating on the maintenance of the bike. It really was a good course. It started with the tools, adjusting riding position and the very basics of cleaning the bike. Then it was time for puncture repair.
A screw was put into the back wheel of a demonstration bike: 'Whoops, a puncture'. High gear (small sprocket), release brakes, undo wheel, lift bike and wheel drops out. Tyre levers, extract tube, inflate and find hole, patch, put it all back again. It was pretty easy - then it was our turn... and it was easy (though we didn't put a screw in, but instead extracted and replaced the inner tube, and then patched a spare tube).
The next topic was the brakes, and we looked at all the adjustments that could be made, e.g. keeping them symmetrical, stopping them squeaking, changing pads and so forth.
Finally it was gears, we looked at adjusting and indexing the rear derailleur, and then moved to the front derailleur (mine was out of alignment and the chain was rubbing, so this was really welcome).
It was all basic stuff, but we all really benefited from being shown. There were some jobs that I thought I knew how to do, but as I'd never actually been shown, so I'd missed a trick or two. For example, with the brakes I discovered that fine adjustment could be made with the barrel adjuster near the lever, previously, I'd done it the hard way by shortening the cable at the brakes.
It was an excellent course, really good - I'm glad I did it.