An extract from the Hereford Times reporting on the £50 bike repair voucher scheme. "A poll of 2,000 adults commissioned by the firm indicated that only 48% of people know how to repair a puncture, 43% could tighten lights and fix a loose chain, and 37% could adjust their own brakes."
43% could tighten lights and fix a loose chain? As well as being a Deputy Head I'm a trained cycle mechanic and MTB Guide and I can't imagine what they are thinking. Did the poll author think everyone rides fixies or is using 1970s Eveready lights?
I'd be surprised if those figures were representative of the general public. I wonder who they asked?
I suspect “fix a loose chain” actually means putting a chain which has been dropped back on the rings/cassette. As for tightening lights... the mounts for mine are done by thumbscrew so pretty intuitive
Is mtb guide a uk qualification or other?
Well actually it's a Mountain Bike Leader qualification. Governed by British Cycling.
If I had been asked that, I would have looked at the statement and said yes based on the principal that I could fix pretty much anything on the bike. So whatever they meant by "fix a loose chain", I could fix. So whether that is to remove links or fit a new one due to chain stretch etc.
I suspect if you are asked a nonsense question but you feel generally you could fix most things on a bike, you might just say yes. If you are not confident fixing a bike, then the answer to the same nonsense question might be no.
As for puncture fixing, earlier in lockdown I was riding home from work on a section of cycle path. Two young guys (late teens/ early 20s) were looking puzzled at their upturned bike. I stopped to see if I could help. They had a puncture, and were trying to fix it with sellotape! I asked if they wanted one of my puncture repair patches, and they looked blankly at me. So I showed them what to do and they were amazed and asked of puncture repair kits were expensive and where could you get one. I found it quite sad that such basic knowledge has been lost. They were super keen to watch and learn what I was doing though, so I reckon they will now be able to do it themselves. I also was amused that they had obviously thought a bit about the possibility of a puncture as they had a pump with them - a double cylinder foot pump from the van! It took determination to carry that!
That is so good that you stopped to help. I do fixing sessions with the children in my MTB Club at school and am planning a parent's basic bike maintenance session in the autumn as it is shocking how many children come in with bikes that have loose (or too tight) headsets, loose BBs, loose wheel cones and non-functioning brakes as well as punctures the parents don't have a clue how to fix! I also do the cycling badge sessions for our local Cubs/Beavers and I get them to fix a puncture with patches. They love learning a new skill like this.
When my brother and I were about 7 we were each taught a few skills that my parents deemed life essentials. Some have since become defunct, like wiring a plug (although I could still do it!), but one was fixing a puncture. It was about the only bike mechanic skills that they knew, but they passed it on. I learnt most other basics of bike repairs by tinkering with old bikes, but maybe I had the confidence to because I already knew how to fix one thing?
Sounds like Boris's £50 repair voucher will be wasted fixing stuff that any cyclist should at least have a go at themselves first.
> Some have since become defunct, like wiring a plug
Certainly not defunct for those living in countries with different plug types from the ones where most of their electrical items originated. I've lost count of the number of plugs I've changed so as not to have to rely on adapters permanently.
I'm surprised the numbers are that high. People who think of themselves as "cyclists" tend to forget that many people just ride bikes and aren't enthusiasts. As a kid who relied on a bike I learned to fix punctures and adjust hub gears, but having returned to cycling as an adult I have no idea how to adjust derailleurs, and I struggle with adjusting brakes. Bike maintenance courses aren't easy to find and cost more than I've ever spent on getting it fixed by an expert.
Why odd? Those are the basic tasks that most riders might have to deal with on the road. They had to use simple language because most people don't know the names for parts of the bike.
What do you think they should have asked about?
> well a lot of stuff is common sense or just a YouTube video away but I guess if it gets even some of the people who apply for vouchers out on bikes that will be great.
I think in part the lack of knowledge is because a generation haven't been getting on their bike as much. A lack of safe cycle paths, too much traffic etc.. It's hardly surprising.
The returning 50+ year old mamil has retained some childhood knowledge and has the patience to plod through sorting things like indexing etc.
Any progress is good but I think after covid there will need to be many more subtle incentives to keep people cycling, otherwise folk will fall into old habits.
They should have asked what percentage can get a 29" tyre off of the rim and put it back on again!
I've now gone tubeless so I don't have to do that again too often!
I remember the first time I tried to get the tyre off my road bike to fix a puncture...I failed! I had to push the bike back to the station and borrowed better tyre levers from the cycle hub at the station. I have since found suitable tyre levers!
> I remember the first time I tried to get the tyre off my road bike to fix a puncture...I failed!
After many years happy riding I got a nice shiny new bike with tubeless ready tyres but still with innertubes. Got puncture so got out the kit and tried to insert the levers and failed badly. Lucky it was a slow puncture so was at home. Quick google later and found out the correct technique for breaking the seal.
I hate to think about trying to change a tube on the road bike. Put some armadillos on it which were a hellishly tight fit.
What tighten a light? Fix a loose chain? What does loose chain mean? If it means a chain that has come off I think most people who ride a bike would understand that better than calling it a loose chain. Most bikes that your average adult will be riding will have some sort of rear gear mech so I really don't understand that question.
Exactly the same for me! I’ve been changing tubes in the middle of the woods at night for years, went to change my 29er tubeless but with tubes at home and it was virtually impossible to get the bead off! Had to watch YouTube videos!
Did you do it by pushing the bead into the centre of the rim all the way around? Easier on a 30mm mtb wheel than a road bike by a long way I bet.
My lights are always coming loose and need tightening. "Loose chain" is a bit vague but I would take it to mean dealing with a chain which comes off but hasn't broken.
I agree they seem loosely worded, but I think you're looking at this from the perspective of a trained mechanic used to diagnosing specific problems, rather than a fairly broad consumer survey. It doesn't need to be precise.
Lights these days tend to either have a simple hand tightening knob/screw to fix or rubber bands which don't come loose. And how do you tighten a chain that is loose?
> Did you do it by pushing the bead into the centre of the rim all the way around? Easier on a 30mm mtb wheel than a road bike by a long way I bet.
Yes, that was how i got it off and on the rim. Breaking the bead in the first place i had to stand on the tyre and pull up by the rim with both hands.
Getting the bead to pop back in i just pumped the tyre up really quickly until it pinged and I shat myself
The majority of my bike lights use thick rubber bands, only my cateye ones screw on. A loose chain, would have been clearer if said a chain that has come off. Maybe the designer was as clueless as some of the public.
You can get a 'loose' chain on a single speed bike as there's not a derailuer to keep the chain in tension. So it is possible to tighten a chain on one of these. But almost everyone rides bikes with deraileur gears these days...
I know, I have an On-One single speed in the shed. But how many of the adults surveyed have one of those? It is a pointless question. My son's 16" Specialized was single speed but most people are riding bikes with derailleur gears I'd have thought.
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