Louder than words

did you know, free, inspiration, recycle, repair, social

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.

Dr. Seuss

Leeds is such a big place. It is mentioned as a capital of the North on numerous occasions. With every great story comes an untold tale of things that often get omitted by the mainstream media: the social isolation, the lack of access to alternative transport, transport dependence, etc.

On Saturday 28th June we had a pleasure to be a part of a Swinnow Family Fun Day where we set up our tent and provided bicycle check up service for anyone who felt their bike needed some TLC. The turn out was amazing and we are glad to announce that we serviced almost a dozen of bikes, we replaced a couple of cables, adjusted a few brakes, discussed the tyre pressure on a few occasions and even explained the basic physics behind the bearings once. We discovered exactly the same problems occur wherever we go- the bikes are neglected, the brakes are too spongy, tyres are bold, the bottom brackets are loose… What we are currently discussing with our constantly growing list of friends are opportunities to deliver our services to the wider audience- we want to teach everyone how to look after their bikes.

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What we also did during this amazing day was raffling the donated Kona Hahanna. It was won by Louise from Leeds who bought a lucky pink 38 ticket.

This is how we respond to all these untold stories- this is the only way we can address the issues we mentioned. By actions. Nothing else.

Ghetto repairs series

cheap, learn, recycle, repair

…the cheaper you get it the cheaper it is…

A friend of TBC

Any issues or failures that occur on your bike can quite often be resolved with a set of simple tools. It is however quite difficult to replace the specific parts when they go wrong. It costs a lot at times and can be sometimes can be only done by a qualified mechanic/technician. That is why we introduced a ‘ghetto repair’ series at which we will discuss heavily discounted or free alternatives to some of the expensive parts/repairs.

We will start with, in our opinion, most useful yet the simplest advice we were given long time ago; it will save you plenty of time and will make your life much easier. It is a ‘how-to’ on stopping cables from fraying when storing them.

Bicycle gear/brake cables are one of the most used and/or replaced parts on your bike. They make it possible to translate the shifter/lever pull into the brake arm/dérailleur action. The y are made of the number of thin steel wires twisted together; they are strong and robust while remaining flexible. When they are being replaced some of them are in a good enough condition to be stored and reused where needed.

The problem with a used cable is that you most likely have cut the end of it to trim it to required length and secured with a crimp. When the cable gets removed you remove the crimp making the cut end exposed and quite easy to untangle.


There are number of ways to store cables (flat, coiled, etc.) but none of them eradicates the need to protect the end of the cable. The best technique we discovered (so far anyway) is the use of the heat shrink that gets put on the end of the cable and heated up to snugly fit around the wires. The heat shrink will work on any cable, greasy or not, and will stay there forever.


When the cable is needed you can simply snip the end of it or slide the heat shrink off the end and you are ready to go…

Have you got any ghetto repairs on your bike or in your workshop that save time, money, stress or all combined?

Give a man a fish…

inspiration, learn, social

Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me, and I’ll understand.

Chinese proverb

We were astonished by simplicity of this saying when it was first spotted during our visit to The Bristol Bike Project couple of years ago. It was there, on the wall, printed out across the numerous blank pieces of paper, staring at us constantly yet, ironically, remaining unnoticed.

We have followed the same principle through everything that we did in the last few years, unconsciously agreeing with its clear message. Every time the teaching or learning process occurs it is vital for the recipient to be alert and willing to take on the knowledge in question. When faced with a general verbal tuition the student tends to get distracted and simply bored of the material quite promptly. Although the verbal tuitions accompanied by the additional visual presentation significantly improve the contact and relationship between the student and the tutor it does not deliver any practical experience so valued and so necessary in the process of learning.


We realised that any kind of the tutor/student interaction improves the outcome of any TBC session. We get everyone involved- when working with our members we ensure that we use the industry terminology: we talk about dérailleurs not ‘the gear things’, we talk about cranksets not ‘the pedal thingies’ and so on. Children as little as 6 years old have visited our project and while learning with their parents they promptly picked up the terminology otherwise never used in front of them. The number of 11 years old that worked on their bikes with us told us that the barrel adjusters were sticky on their brake levers- something that would be quite difficult to explain using the same wording to their unaware parents. This is simply proving that when faced with the demand to be in the know our members step upto the challenge and learn much quicker and much more than they would during the standard tuition lessons. We always involve our members in our lessons- they work at their own pace in their own comfort zone as they are using their own bicycle as an experimenting tool and are surrounded by like-minded and like-aged people. This proves to be an extremely effective way of sharing knowledge- regardless of age, sex, background, etc.

Give us a shout if you would like to try this out- you will be surprised how much you did not know about your bike; and how much you can learn in a really short time!