Congrats to another round of Build-a-Bike graduates! It only took them 9 hours to disassemble, clean, and rebuild their new steeds. Two of the bikes were donated by the Oxford City Council from their abandoned bike lot, and the third bike belonged to a friend of a friend.
You can read about our abandoned bikes partnership here.
The day started quickly, with a cup of coffee and an explanation of where to find the bathroom (you must get the essentials out of the way first, right?). Three bikes were popped into stands, and Elle demonstrated how to remove bottom brackets, take apart headsets, and disassemble freewheels/cassettes. Everything else we left to the student, because we believe that learning by doing is a powerful experience. There’s nothing like looking at a puzzle, assessing the problem, and finding a solution on your own.
Lunch, degreaser, and a few hours later, the bikes were all stripped to the frame. Tyres and tubes were removed, pedals off, and threads cleaned. (The only things we don’t do are remove headset cups and disassemble hubs.)
A few pitfalls came up along the way, such as an old frame that refused to take a modern bottom bracket cup and some mudguards that were far too big, but for the most part it was smooth sailing. We replaced all the necessary parts, and saved cabling and adjustments for the afternoon.
Cabling, of course, takes the longest. Our main priority while teaching the course is to ensure that all brakes are functioning properly, and students can always return later to adjust their gears. However, even with some scurrying and rushing at the end, everyone had functioning brakes and gears by 6.30pm!
Congrats to our new Build-a-Bike graduates, I hope your bikes carry you well.
A new course will be released soon and it’s sure to sell out. Stay tuned!