On a recent women’s group mountain bike ride, we were all chatting about our knowledge (or rather lack of knowledge) about bike maintenance and whether one of us would know what to do if somebody suffered a major mechanical problem.
We reckoned that between us, we could have fixed a puncture….but a snapped chain or something worse, well we figured it was likely that we’d be struggling to sort that out.
The good thing is that in a group ride, full of other supportive women, we would have done something to ensure that the one with the broken bike wasn’t stranded and left to their own devices.
However, I sometimes like to go out riding on my own and I’m sure there are plenty of other women who, like me, enjoy time alone in the hills but only have the basic knowledge when it comes to bike maintenance.
When Hopetech Women advertised that they were developing bike maintenance courses for women, I jumped on it as fast as I could. The first one, a basic bike maintenance workshop, was held in January with the intention that future workshops would build on that knowledge.
So, off I trundled to Gisburn Forest to meet up with around 20 other women all keen to learn the basics about our bikes.
The workshop was really well organised. We split into 4 groups and rotated around 4 different sessions throughout the morning.
My first session was fixing a puncture with lots of handy tips about how to get those pesky tight tyres off and on the rim. We then moved onto doing an “M” check on our bikes (at the start and end of our rides), then the anatomy of a bike (making sure we knew the correct terminology and where our headsets, rear mech’s and bottom brackets were). Finally, we had a session on personal set up of our bikes to ensure the best riding position and correct suspension set up.
The whole morning was led be professionals who understood their stuff, but importantly people who get out there and ride regularly themselves. The little extra hints and tips through chatting were as useful as the formal delivery of the sessions – and we were given a handy crib sheet to take back home with us.
A quick break for lunch after the workshop sessions and then it was onto the active part of the day – a ride out around the Gisburn trails. We split into two groups for a guided ride. I chose the easy group for a few reasons – recovering from flu, being cautious about riding at Gisburn (every time I visit it seems to co-incide with the air ambulance visiting too, and yep, it did that day), along with being generally slower since my accident last summer.
It meant that I had a really fun ride out on an easy blue trail with a great group of women, but we were also encouraged to try out a red section of trail which I’d previously avoided due to its reputation (the Hope Line). I’m glad that I did, it was a fun section which I’ll be incorporating into my personal blue/red route at Gisburn on future visits.
So if you’re thinking about going on one of the Hopetech women’s maintenance workshops, my advice is to get booked on. It cost just £10 for the day (morning workshops and afternoon guided riding) and I thought it was great value for money.
However, as with anything like this, the key is to put it into practice back home.
So the next day, I decided to wash and maintain my own bike instead of letting my husband do it all for me as usual. I learned more about how to care for my bike after a ride, and how to change my rear brake pads.
How long that flash of enthusiasm for bike washing lasts remains to be seen 😉
For more inspiration, how to information and details of future events, check out the Hopetech Women website here.