Thursday, 27 December 2012

Cycle Tech UK Business Start Up's 2012

Once again it’s been a tough year for new businesses in the UK, with no respite from the tough economic climate and a less than inspiring Autumn Statement.

  • However, the start-up scene goes from strength to strength; Cycle Tech UK had 13 more members joining this year, with our youngest member Matt from Cycle Tech Tamworth who is only 24.
  • Cycle Tech UK network had valuable advice and encouragement from established members at our A.G.M; to help new members start up their mobile bike business, inspiring start-up tales and advice. 
  • Members reporting a busy year, with minimum of quiet periods compared with 2011 & 2010. And in many cases more busy than bike shops, when many shops where blaming the weather for a poor start to Spring. 
  • With plenty of encouragement this year from Bradley Wiggins, who became the first Briton to win the Tour de France and Olympic time trial gold medalist, that helped boosting sales of road bikes. 

Whilst Cycle Tech UK strive to provide practical and informative business start up help and long term support to it's members. Cycle Tech UK also hope to continue to inspire in 2013 it's members network, along with a steady growth in new members, that they will be-able to offer their best service to existing customers and gain more new customers using our unique services.
In uncertain times The Small Business Index Shows many other small businesses are cautiously optimistic and is a positive start for 2013.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Stuck In A Job That Makes You Feel Like Your Life Is Going Nowhere

While most workers prefer to stay with their job that they don't like, than look for a new job in fear of the new job not working out or loosing their new job as being the last one in is the first one out, as many Company's are not expanding and investing. With Britain struggling, Banks not lending at low rates and the outlook is becoming like Japan as the UK is stagnating. Those people that can not live like that or not prepared to adjust where not much is happening, can change their outlook on life and start their own bike business. Even in times of uncertainty, with the right planning and support could be a step forward for your life change. Having a business that gives you time to spend with your family, enjoy what makes you happy and invest in your future.

Being an entrepreneur gives you the freedom to express yourself and develop your concept in any way you choose. You get to do what you’re interested in and you can expand on your bike business and make it grow as big as you like; the bike business market is unique and you can grow your bike business and add it with health and fitness, environment, tourism, cycle hire, teaching cycling or maintenance classes and whatever you imagination takes you, with the ability to be as creative as you like is far more appealing than a one-dimensional job.

As their is a uncertainty with the long term recovery of the UK and with low interest rates on savings, then you may be thinking if you have around £10k to invest in starting your own business. If so then Cycle Tech UK can help and guide you, with out you falling flat on your face. Every business has a risk, you will need to calculate the risk first of running your business. I have been running Cycle Tech for 5 years, it can be very profitable, it’s not just large corporations that make large profits. Although the start up process can be tough, running a business from home reduces costs and with the added help of Cycle Tech UK’s experience, support and business start-up pack, you can run your business well and the rewards can be huge. 
It has taken me time to build my business and I still need to keep ahead of the game.
Being a member of Cycle Tech UK you too can have a working lifestyle to suit your needs. Even grow your business so in the future your children can have a job and eventually take over where you can still take a profit as a income as part of your pension.
There are no guarantees, but building your own business/future you have the control, where working for someone else you are just a number, your job has no guarantee, along with your pension and investments.

If you are uninspired by your monotonous job, starting your own business will keep you on your toes and stretch your abilities to the maximum. If you want a career where every day is different, going it alone could be for you.

You can start by making a simple business plan; just make a list of items to start your business and a list of running costs, also make a list of your private monthly outgoings from your bank statement, as a guide of what you need to earn/set aside each month over a 12 month period. You can use this list to see if you can cut back on any monthly payments; like down grading your phone (This will be a tax deductible item once you start your business)
You could even start this business part time, to get it of the ground before you give up your job completely and use any holiday due to complete mechanics qualifications. Although juggling the two can be tricky, but having a successful sideline should be a very profitable option, before giving up a regular income. See our F.A.Q page. 

If you are interested in running your own bike business and change your life, then please read this Blog first (Even print the pages to read or show a family member or friend first before contacting me as there is more about running a bike business then one first thinks, as you may have more questions to ask me) and email me for more information and I will send you a PDF with ways how I can help you and if you like to take the next step, how to arrange a 1/2 hour meeting or chat.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Shimano STI Gear Cable Snap

Hi Martin

Had a gear cable snap on me 70 miles into a 100 mile ride - it was the classic Shimano STI snapped off  inside the shifter problem. (Old style but is also common on new shifters) As my bike is less than a year old, just over 3000 miles, it might be worth emphasising the issue with our colleagues. Lots of comments on the Internet, and it definitely is a well known issue, but having been through it myself.

In retrospect, I could have avoided this as I'd noticed the shift going excessively out of adjustment on the C2C a couple of weeks ago. I'd put it down to being on the train and being knocked about but when I got it home and decided to check the alignment there was no problem so the alarm bells should have gone off. Worse, I decided I probably should consider changing the cable but decided to leave it until I was ready for a full service in a few hundred more miles when the chain is due for a change.

Anyway, service advice tips for our members:

1) Give away symptom is that the indexing going significantly out (more than a click or so) after being stable for ages - that is the cable lengthening due to strands snapping in the cable - and sticky changes (that's the strands catching) but the alignment is fine.

2) Usage on mine is that I am a very frequent gear changer - I change gear as soon as my cadence is out of a fairly narrow range - so on a ride I probably will be doing hundreds of changes. This has snapped in 11 months - so less than the annual change suggested.

So a sensible check would be to query with the customer the mileage and style of riding and unless a rider is a low mileage, low changer, change the inner cable on the right hand shifter regardless of apparent condition. Left hand shifter is unlikely to have the same problem. Changing the outer might be optional as it is within the shifter that there is clearly some issue with how the cable routes between the carrier and the cable.

Ian Spencer
Spenny Cycles Ltd

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Cycle Show Network Meeting

  Cycle Tech UK Workshop Vans Line Up At NEC Cycle Show

Sir Chris Hoy speaking at the Cycle Show "It has been an amazing year, still haven't really had the chance for it to sink in and have some time to relax as it has been incredibly busy since the games but what an amazing year for myself the team for all of cycling and sport in britain it has been a year to remember "

Network Meeting: Cycle Tech UK Members join at the NEC for network review. Good feedback from all members new and established reporting that they have been busy and building a good customer base. 

Once again taking over the coffee stall

It's always good for new Members to network at the show

Cycle Tech Snowdonia. One of the newest Members

 Cycle Tech Eastbourne

Friday, 21 September 2012

Halfords Voted The Worst For Customer Service

Shoppers have dumped bicycles retailer Halfords at the bottom of the High Street pile in a customer satisfaction survey.The poll published by consumer champion Which? Ranked Halfords as the UK's worst store. One customer said Halfords had 'unhelpful and rude' staff and 'its products are worse than any I’ve purchased before'.

Halfords said it is improving its service by 'working hard and investing'. A spokesman added: 'At Halfords, providing a high level of great service is a top priority and our feedback shows thousands of customers each week love the help we provide.

I have not seen any changes in the last 35 years!

Is this a customer fixing his own bike in Halfords?

Can only be good news for the mobile bicycle mechanic, having heard similar stores from customers that have brought bicycles from Halfords, that are not happy with their customer service and would not use Halfords again. And now use the mobile bicycle mechanic to build new bikes, for service and advice.  

I would imagine that customers that are new to cycling use Halfords and customers that like it's ease of use i.e large shop and car parking, soon find out they offer cheap service and sell cheap bicycles for a reason.  Also read bicycle shaped objects why you should not buy one. It's not all bad news, many mechanics that work at Halfords move and further their career in a proper bike shop. Or better still start their own bike business as a mobile bicycle mechanic. 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Think BIG

Now is a good time to start your mobile bike business, as lifestyles get busier, so does the demand for mobile bicycle repair services. Individuals and businesses are both searching for services that offer the added convenience and time savings that mobile bicycle repair businesses provide.
If you have money to invest, you could have your own business. Knowing where to invest your money is key, having the right van 'the mobile workshop', training, tools, stock and advertising to run a successful business.

Joining Cycle Tech UK I will shear with you inside knowledge to help start and run you mobile bike business.

Think BIG but start small, spending money on looking and being professional. 

If  you main objective is to own a successful  mobile bike business, you first need to make sure this business is for you and for you to start of with the right business plan.
Are going to work out the back of a car. What sort of jobs are you going to get? Cheap bikes to work on! You will need to work on 3 cheap bikes to make the same money working on a mid to high end bike. Of course Cycle Tech UK will work on any make of bicycle (not going to turn work away) the more you work on high end bikes the more work you will find you have all year and the more profit you will make. Don't be a busy fool.
A 2 week training course is only going to show you 10% of fixing of all bikes. You will need to continually invest in training. Working under Cycle Tech UK branding you will have the chance to work alongside me to see how  the day to day work is carried out.

Cycle Tech UK needs to continue to provide a professional outlook to customers and suppliers alike. In this way Cycle Tech UK can continue to move away from the ‘poor substitute for a bike shop mentality’. Cycle Tech UK is looking for like minded people who are willing to invest into their own mobile bike business working under the Cycle Tech UK branding and operating their business from a professional mobile workshop.  

There is a lot to think about starting and running a mobile bike business, so it's always best to have a chat or meet up and I can answer your questions to find out if this business is for you and if you like to join Cycle Tech UK to find out what you can bring to the Cycle Tech UK network.

Take The Path Less Traveled

Dare to take the road less traveled, for only this way you will achieve great success in all areas of life.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

With cycling becoming more popular this business is growing fast. Cycle Tech UK can help you setup and grow your business D.I.Y or as a Cycle Tech UK Member. 

Please email  for a info pack.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Benefits of Business Networking

Working as a network we can achieve that no one can achieve alone!

Being part of our Network of mobile bicycle mechanics, is good for the mobile bike business "start-ups and running your business". Communicating directly with the people who have already embarked on this career, learning from their experiences and working together makes us much stronger in any changing market.

  1. Compare and discuss issues of common interest.
  2. Develop and share ideas, innovation and knowledge of best practice.
  3. Meet new people and build mutually beneficial business relationships.
Also as a Member of our Network you will be listed on our Map
  1. So we can refer customers in your area to you  (business & domestic) 
  2. The opportunity to join group bulk buying of stock, with other mobile bike mechanics close to your area. 
We network with meetings at trade shows, Skype, Facebook, group emails and our Forum.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

A day with Cycle Tech UK

Alex from Cycle Tech Snowdonia spent the day with me and to pick up his new Parktool kit.

Alex will be starting his new business in Snowdonia in early September.

Alex using his new Parktools

Fitting new gear cable

Checking gears

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Yellow Bike Hire Business

Cycle Tech UK Ltd promotes cycling, helps people start there own bike business as a mobile bicycle mechanic and/or in the bike hire business.

In association with Yellow bike hire there is a great opportunity to start your new bike business, as hiring only, along side ruining your mobile bike business, or as service contract under Cycle Tech UK.

The Yellow Bike Company was formed by Patrick Darlinton in 2009 -  a turnkey bike hire solution specifically for hotels and tourist attractions which provides point of difference as well as being profitable.It is a newly-developed facility offering bike hire in unmanned locations to those who wish to offer the hire of electric or pedal bikes to their customers. It extends the reach of bike hire, without extendingstaff costs. Up front costs are low, running costs are minimal and above average returns are assured given adequate usage rates. Yellowbike is expanding across the South of England and great opportunities now available.

Hire bikes don't just come in yellow, please contact Patrick at Yellowbike for color availability.

The way forward to start your hire business with 6 bikes and docking stations. 
  1. Is to ask Patrick for a demonstration and see the Yellowbike system work.
  2. Take a view on utilisation and work out your projected profitability
  3. Determine if bike hire adds to the attraction of your business
Please ring Patrick Darligton 01794 884787 Mobile: 07836 234289

For service contracts email

More info on Becoming a Hire Location 

2 bike docking station 

Demo bike only

Yellowbike Docking station and electric bikes

Docking station for 8 bikes

Monday, 21 May 2012

City & Guilds The Highest Standards In Bicycle Training

The City & Guilds Accreditation Training at the  Bike-Inn is above the British Standards set by the National Vocational Qualifications level 2 & 3, and the Association of Cycle Traders "CYTECH" Accreditation
Bike-Inn have been setting the highest level of Maintenance Courses for many years, many others try to achieve their levels of instruction but never reach them! At The Bike Inn they have now introduced their new ‘Certificate of Attainment’, this course includes the new City & Guild level 2 accreditation (Bike-Inn wrote them!) with the added ‘advanced’ instruction listed on the ‘Attainment Certificate’. This 'New' Course is far beyond any other maintenance course in terms of content and instruction - And as an added bonus you get all this included in the price of just one course. The ‘City & Guilds’ level 2 Certificate can be achieved without previous experience and is suitable for persons wishing to develop a small  mobile repair business.

The City & Guilds 2 weeks course and other training courses that are also 2 weeks, known in the trade as level 2. Are only teaching you the basics in bicycle mechanics (just is not enough time in 2 weeks) and some even find these courses not intensive enough, especially those coming from the bike trade or have mechanical knowledge. At the Bike Inn they pride themselves in teaching at the highest level in the industry. Cycle Tech UK Members after their 2 week course, to gain experience in the bike trade, spend a day or 2 with me, not just covering working on bikes but about running a mobile bike business, what tools are needed, stock and how to kit out their mobile workshop. I show the new member how to pre-check a bicycle while talking with the customer, to show any worn out components, how to service a bicycle to our check sheet, working on bicycles where components are rusty and unable to remove components easily, how to bleed brakes and anything else that comes up on the day. All Cycle Tech UK Members have my support are kept updated regular with training and product knowledge, our aim is all members to be pro mechanics and offering high customer service. See more on our frequently asked question Page

Bicycle repairs DIY or pay others to do it? 

"You must have the tools of the trade to do the job" 
"Bicycle maintenance is for the experts" 
"Sorry Sir, we are fully booked for cycle repairs so it will not be ready until a week from now" 
"Please understand that we have large overheads and the high costs of tools force us to make the charges we ask for repairs"

The above comments are genuine and some of the reasons for the high costs of cycle repairs and the running of a bicycle workshop. Having said that, the costs are not high in comparison to many other trades. We gladly pay ten times that to have our cars fixed, thinking it must be a highly skilled job. It takes no longer to change your engine oil than it does to change a bicycle brake cable! 

Bicycle maintenance is not a highly skilled job. There are good and bad mechanics, for sure. The difference is that the good mechanic utilises his/her experience with sound common sense, diagnosing and determining faults quickly from what he/she sees on the bike and from his/her questions of the rider. The bad mechanics, unable to diagnose properly, expects the fault to jump out at them saying ‘Here I am, I'm the problem!’ All too often components are changed (at high cost to you) simply because the mechanic cannot determine exactly what the problem is and takes the easy way out. They will often offer comments such as:
"See how that goes" 
"It needs bedding in"
"I think it's OK now"
"Let me know if you have any more problems"
In other words he did not really know - he's just hoping!
So what is the answer? The home DIY mechanic has a number of ways of learning. He/she will not need the heavy duty work-shop tools one will find in a cycle workshop, but will need some basic tools to enable them to change brake and gear cables, brake pads, chains and sprockets, etc. Removing and re-fitting chain-sets and rings is not difficult with just a few simple tools. Fit new pedals? - easy when you know which way to turn the spanner! 

There are many books on the market giving instruction on cycle mechanics. Some good and some not so good, being a cheap means of earning a few bucks by someone who thinks he knows! But there is a drawback to these, in that one may have difficulty in trying to understand what the author is saying. There are no 'bad' books but some are better than others. You have to pick out the books (how many do you purchase before you think you have found the best?) that are written by budding journalists from the ones written by experienced bike mechanics. Even then, there is the difficulty of not knowing who or what to take notice of. 

There is a lot of nonsense written in books and magazines by writers thinking they have the answers when, in fact, they do not have an honest 'in-depth' understanding of what they are writing about. Too much emphasis is placed on what little they know of components and manufacturers. It is very wrong to promote one manufacturer's name against another but some do it simply because of their very limited experience. Others do it because of prejudice and/or payment for same! 

Instruction on bicycle mechanics comes best on video because one can actually see what is to be done and how to do it. You have a clear indication of what to fit, how to fit, and the tools required to do so. There are not many on the market but those that have been produced do tend to be good. The cost of a cycle maintenance film may be more than a book but they are very much quicker and easier to follow. You actually see the correct use of tools and how the job must be done. 

The last and undoubtedly finest way to learn bike mechanics is to attend a good evening or day class with good, experienced instructors. With 'hands on' experience and the opportunity to use the correct tools for the job, covering all aspects of bicycle repair and maintenance, what you learn will be more than sufficient to recover any repair costs you might have paid for some-one else to do it for you! 

DIY bike repairs - difficult? Not when you know how! 

Alf Webb The Bike Inn. 

Dear Mr Hayes,

I understand that you, and the Minister of State for Further Education may have kindly agreed to meet with Mr Alf Webb on 1 June regarding the training courses which he and his wife provide at the Bike Inn in your constituency.

As a retiring Serviceman, I was privileged to undertake on of the Bike Inn's training courses last year.  (Their courses are well respected by the Armed Forces). Having researched the options carefully, I am now clear that they provide the best bicycle maintenance training currently available in this country.  In an area of Further Education where varying standards of delivery undoubtedly exist, they are simply first class and contribute much in an area of topical interest to the Government and the Nation.  As an example, my skills and qualification are now put to good use in the charitable sector, supporting  some of the plethora of cycling activities which abound there.  Others who qualified with me are running increasingly successful businesses as cycle maintenance requirements escalate.

I believe that Government funding has been made available to other deliverers of this training, which is making the Webbs' courses less competitive.  From personal experience, The Bike Inn is best in class and accordingly thoroughly merits Government recognition.  It would be a real shame if selective funding promoted lower quality instruction.  May I therefore commend the Bike Inn to you, and suggest that, in the event that funding support is available, they thoroughly merit it.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Ibbotson

Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson KBE CB DSC DL
Plympton St Maurice

Disclaimer: Cycle Tech UK are not associated or affiliated with The Bike Inn or any other training centers.  If you have already been on a training course PLEASE complete our survey.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Mobile Bicycle Workshops

Iain from Cycle Tech Dunstable, come over for the afternoon, to service and repair bicycles in Jordans. 
Chance to take photos of Iain and his new mobile workshop. Iain started his mobile bike business last week and is very busy, he even brought a bike over to service that need new gear cables and the gear hanger re-tapping. 
Mobile workshops line up.

Members logo

Iain changing gear cables

Tapping gear hanger

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Ian from Dunstable hits the road

Ian and his new mobile workshop hit the road.

The latest mobile bicycle business to hit the road

See more about Iain from Cycle Tech Dunstable

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Servicing mountain bikes from the mobile workshop

This year there has been an increasing number of road bikes, that Cycle Tech UK have been servicing and it made a change to work on 2 mountain bikes. 

Below the photos show typical job's being carried out from the mobile workshop:

Bicycle service check sheet, all service work carried out by Cycle Tech UK members use our checklist.

Bleeding Shimano disc brakes

 Pressing out worn bush to Fox Shox

 Refitting Fox Float Shox

 Removing worn Freehub body

 Checking gears

 Fitting brake disc rota to new wheel

Sitting down on the job. Fitting cassette to new wheel

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

A day on the road seeing how the mobile bike business works

Mike From Cycle Tech Coventry, came for the day to give a hand and to see how the mobile bike business works. There where many bikes to work on, 2 Bromptons and 6 road bikes for mike to get his hands dirty on. Also a good time to see how the mobile workshop is setup, going from job to job, the chance to ask questions and talk shop.

Mike cleaning brakes

Mike removing rear wheel

Mike working undercover 

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Hands on and Going over new business setup

Guy from Cycle Tech Eastbourne, come for the day for some experience and to go over his new business setup before he starts his new mobile bike business in Eastbourne in 2 weeks time. Guy is looking forward to starting his new bike business, he already has a van, tools and stock. A day at the Saturday bike clinic gives Guy a chance to get his hands dirty and chat over what else he needs to start and run his business.

Guy from Cycle Tech Eastbourne 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Bike Clinic

A day in the life of the mobile bicycle mechanic working at the very popular bike clinic.

Photos using Gopro camera

Mobile bike clinic setup, ready to start work

Truing a rear wheel

Adjusting brakes after fitting trued rear wheel

Cannondale in for a service, fitting of chain and cassette 

Fitting a XT chain

Removing a bottom bracket

Inside the mobile workshop. Sizing up a bottom bracket.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Green Park

2 Cycle Tech UK members working together

Bike wash and mobile service setup

Me and Frank

Frank truing rear wheel

Bike in work stand ready to be serviced 

Bike storage 
Bikes all cleaned and serviced by Cycle Tech UK