‘Getting Greasy’ A report by Laura

HTC Novice workshop cropped

One of the perks of being a triathlete is the range of equipment and gear you have….one of the most expensive items being the bike! Which we often neglect by not giving it the TLC it needs. This course provided a few basic checks, adjustments, cleaning and maintenance that can be done quite easily before and after rides to ensure you get the most from your bike!

Our trainer, Simon, a City and Guilds qualified cycle mechanic from Horsham Cycles, came to savvy some less experienced bike mechanic club members on top tips to keep us safe and out on our bikes!


 The basicM’-check  is one check that all triathletes should do on a regular basis. It involves conducting a safety check of all the main working parts of a bike and with practice we all will be completing within minutes.

For all bike maintenances a bike stand is very helpful/essential and prevents any added back injuries or extra hands whilst working. There are a range of bike stands available. Horsham Cycles sell an excellent one for £80, a reduced club price, that has foam protected clasp to prevent any damage to those carbon frames!

A useful tool used throughout the day, for a range of adjustments was the portable Crank Bros bike tool. We also saw Dave’s bike tool box, which included a range of the bike tools listed here for around £20-30.


First check-wheels:

Wheel quick release /Wheel nuts- Check quick release skewer is firmly closed or that axle nuts are fully tightened.

Tyre wear – Check visually that tyres are not split or cracked and that there is tread remaining on the tyre.

Tyre pressure – Check that tyre is firmly inflated to the recommended pressure on the tyre wall.

Hub bearings -Grip rim and rock back and forth, to feel for loose bearings; spin wheel to check for tight bearings.

Rims and spokes -Check visually for any defects and spin wheel; hold the spokes and check that none are lose. It may be helpful to add a spoke tool to the tool list, to tighten any spokes a 1/4 turn to ensure it doesn’t impact the wheel spin.

All that attended were able to remove their tyre and replace the inner tube as well identify and remove any stones or twigs that had made their way into the tyre. We all will have thumbs of steel!

Horsham Cycle sell an excellent pump that indicates air pressure for £25-so get in touch with Simon to ensure you have one of them to hand, especially before rides! In addition two bike leavers will be necessary to add to the tool kit(yes thay are normally sold in three’s). You can get small ones to have with you on long rides. Not forgetting your inner tubesFreeborn Cycles are doing a great offer on them currently if you want to get stock in.

Check brakes:

Brake blocks- Check that blocks are correctly positioned and not worn beyond the wear indicators (we had practice and removing and replacing, as well as altering the position so that they were happy and breaking efficiently)

Brake cables-Check that cables are not frayed or heavily corroded

Chain Check- Using Simons chain checker, to ensure that our chains weren’t too stretched and worn is a helpful MOT. Chains can be removed using a chain tool (portable ones available as well as carrying joining links in your saddle bag) or some bikes have for example SRAM power link on their bikes which allows them to easily remove the chain, you can always add this link to your chain if you wish. John had come prepared with a new chain that needed replacing-good to have the head of the club getting greasy too!

Gears-we all got a chance to check and alter our gears so that they were all shifting precisely-even though we had a few suspicious gear sets-Emma! As well as one too many crashes damaging Eli’s!

In these winter months of training, it’s important to ensure that the dirt and grime is removed! GT85 (with straw) was recommended as a good oil to use, as well as a range of Dirtwash and Muck In cleaning materials such as the degrease spray, spoke cleaner, bike cleaner and chain cleaner. Small and thin brushes were shown as good tools to help clean and maintain a healthy working bike! We also got to see a Cyclone Chain Cleaner in action. It was amazing seeing what we thought was a black chain change to silver…! Duncan and Claire! As well as being reminded to regularly do the ‘M’-Check and get a Bike Service twice a year!

A big Thank You to the committee for organising the day. Those that attended will now be ready to go with knowledge, shopping lists of a few extra tools and of course clean checked working bikes!

I think those saddle bags will be a lot more full too!