Has anyone attended these mini classes offered by bike shops?
Are they worth the money ($100 per class).
What it included in the price of the lesson? Do you get anything for your money besides an afternoon with a mechanic?
Some guys will give their hard earned knowledge for free-- look at this site for instance.
I took the Park Tool School last winter. IMO it was worth every penny I paid for it. It was comprehensive enough to give me the courage to try and build my own bike up. So far, I've built up four bikes. About the only thing that I can't do is build wheels, but that's next.Originally Posted by RonH
Probably the greatest benefit I derived from the school was the knowledge on how to do routine stuff, including tuning the front and rear dérailleurs. The Park Tool School book is an excellent reference.
I would recommend it for anyone interested in how to successfully take care of their own bikes.
If you are a hands on learner then yes I suppose it's worth it. If you are somewhat mechanically inclined and can read get the Zinn guide to Mt. Bike maintenence. All the same stuff is covered for $15.
I took the 3 session course 2 winters ago. I found it very helpful. I not a great mechanic, but at least I now can keep my ders working (maybe not to a racer's specs), brakes adjusted, and have been able to true a traumatized wheel enough to get me home. I found the manual to be excellent, but I still go to the Park Tool site to look at info, as well as peruse Bartnetts. I also enjoyed the social aspects of the class, meeting different types of bikers and working on our bikes together. There are lots of ways to learn. If you need a little hands on help this is a good way to go if you don't know someone to help you with the basics.
If possible find a local bike repair co-op or a local bicycling advocacy group that offers bicycle repair classes for free...
The Park Tool class in Chicago (and Illinois because I checked) is $200 for a 6 week course. I haven't taken it yet because the wait list has been pretty long, but I think now there's some room for me. I passed my phone number to the Park Tool guy the last time I talked to him a couple of weeks ago. He's supposed to call me when a slot opens.
This guy teaches class 2 times a week for 6 weeks, then afterwards, if you still don't feel comfortable or have questions, you can work with his bike shop. He has a program where he works with inner city kids with fixing bikes, and you could join him and work with the kids. He said you learn how to fix and build a bike from the ground up- you just bring your bike and expect to take it all the way apart and put it back together- plus learn the terms for cycling too. I'm impressed, and I've got the money to plunk down asap.
That's really the biggest part. If it makes you feel more comfortable about working on your bike, you should take the class. The price of the class will pay for itself once you start doing your own work. Some people just feel better being walked through the first steps.Originally Posted by Davet
This is the route I took. I used the cash I figured I would save on my first tune-up by buying some tools. Once I got started, I realized that it was all pretty straight-forward mechanical stuff. Now I enjoy working on my bike (makes the rainy days endurable) and the more I do it, the more I learn.Originally Posted by montlake_mtbkr
I have found that in addition to books, online resources have been invaluable.
$100 for a class? How long is a class, and what do u get? That sounds pretty outrageous... maybe wait till university, because i know some of them have. (well mine has as well, but it's such a small class and it's full!! grr) So i just bought the Zinn book.Originally Posted by RonH
Wickedly lickety shot,
Spickety spickety split lickety! :D
I know this only helps if you're in Portland, but you should be able to find something like this locally; if not, get something started!
Wednesday Womens' Mechanic Night at North Portland Bikeworks. Stop by any Wednesday from 6 to 8 PM to learn about bike maintenance and repair from women mechanics. Free - but donations are gratefully accepted. North Portland Bikeworks: A Neighborhood Learning Center, 3951 N Mississippi Ave.
Originally Posted by AquariaGuy
Actually, I'm curious as to where the $100 a class comes from too- Park Tool classes are $200 for the 6 week class.
Are you sure you have the right organization when you say $100 a class?
No shops around here sponsor this, grrrrr. When a shop DOES offer something, the class size is limited, say to 8 (!), and it fills up immediately.
I'm likely going to go the Zinn book route also and get myself a repair stand. I have some basic tools, but would need more. Anyone bought one of those Park (or Pedro or other) tool sets that have a whole bunch of tools? Any recommendations for which set is best for the price? What are some basic tools you can't be without?
Ride like a kid again...out the door, not a care in the world~
2005 Trek 7300fx; 2010 Fuji Saratoga 1.0 crank forward
I buy my tools from www.mec.ca
It's REALLY REALLY cheap. Compared to other places, but than again i live in Toronto. I don't know how much shipping will cost if they ship it out. Last time, this store that offered the Park Tool school thing, i couldn't attend because i'd be in school, so i asked if they could sell me the book and they said it would cost me $40. This is CDN too. Go buy Zinn!! And you don't really need a repair stand...just find a wall or a ceiling, and hang something from it and hook up ur seat to it. Cost me 50 cents to buy a hook and hook it on a low ceiling in my basement.
Wickedly lickety shot,
Spickety spickety split lickety! :D
Wow... that's a lot of money. I'm sure it's going to be a good course, but I wonder why there's a money discrepency... I'm like 80% sure now that the course in Chicago is a 6 class deal for $200, and you have class for like 2 hours. I'm going to call the Park Tool guy here in Chicago and see what's up with that. I need to check in and see if any space opened up yet anyway.Originally Posted by RonH
I believe it's up to the dealer to set how many classes, how many hours each class will be and the cost for the school. Park just provides the books and curriculum.Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
The classes I took last winter were two hours each, one day a week for four weeks, and I paid $150.00.
I think the value judgment should be what is it worth to have a real mechanic, teach real skills in a real setting. Regardless the length and cost of the class, I came away with the ability to build, maintain and fix my own bikes. The value of those skillsets far exceed the dollars I paid. Learning from a book is good, but learning hands-on from a pro is much better. You can always use a book for back-up.