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.


  1. Martin -
    Just a quick word of thanks for all you are doing on our behalf.

    I will give you a mention at our meeting with John Hayes in respect for the amount of work you are putting in to promote business across the UK.

    Keep up the good work.
    Regards - Alf

  2. Morning, Martin.

    So what's with this working on a Sunday? Anyone would think we were self-employed !!
    One of my favourite sayings is; The sure cure for illness and strikes is to become self-employed!

    Yes - all went well on Thursday.

    I was able to point out to him that many of our people have become mobile mechanics and running profitable businesses.
    I made a point of telling him of your efforts in setting up a working group of such and that, although coming up against friction in the early days, now compliment local shops with assistance.

    He is certainly looking in to the situation of helping us and we came away confident that it will happen.
    It is not just funding for students we are looking for. We have had the situation of people unable to get funding for our courses because we are 'a private comapny'. No matter that our folks go from here trained to a much higher standard than others . Being a private company does not qualify them funding.
    This is one of the things he is looking in to. The other is to assist us with funding to keep us going when (and he was quite surprised when we showed him) others are receiving massive funding for low quality instruction.

    We await further info from him in due course.

  3. Hi Martin,

    This is excellent Stuff, I have met John Hayes in my other role as a learning co-ordinator for the FBU and I know he is passionate about all types of learning so I'm sure he will look at what both Alf and yourself are doing with a keen eye.


  4. Hi Martin

    Thanks for this, I was fortunate and did my city and guilds with Alf and Theresa and have gone from stregth to stregth starting from a small shed in Llanddewi Brefi Wales
    With a unit now in Cellan

  5. Cheers for making me aware of this course. Had a real good chat with Teresa and decided this is definitely for me. Going to book it for August.



  6. The course at The Bike Inn was OK! It showed me what I needed to know, and provided some useful contacts for parts etc, but I do find that these courses are all rather expensive for what they are! (Or am I just getting to be a grumpy old git?) I must say however that I think it was a much more detailed course than Dewi provided at Cycle Wales! Just my opinion of course, but if I needed further training I think I would go to Alf rather than Dewi!