Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: London, UK
Bikes: Trek T200 plus enough others to fill a large shed
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This is a great opportunity for you to learn to tune up your bike. Buy a book or spend some time on the Park tools website to learn what you're doing. If you take things step by step you will be fine.
All you need to start working on your bike is the same stuff as you'd take on any ride; an inner tube, puncture kit, tyre levers, pump and a multitool plus some oil, rags and a bucket of soapy water. Start with simple jobs like washing the bike and lubing the chain, then tune your rear derailleur, brakes and try some different saddle height / setbacks and tensioning the idler chain. Practice changing a puncture before you need to on the road. If you work step by step you will have no problems as these are really simple jobs. From there you can buy more tools - I'd also recommend a chain tool and a floor (track) pump. From there you can progress to doing almost everything with your bike. The only times you should involve the local shop will be to face a new frame so that the headset and bottom bracket fits properly. It's not economical to do this at home as the tools to do it properly are very expensive.
You will not only save a lot of time and money compared with taking your bike to the shop, but you'll have a much better grasp of whether your bike is working properly, which will save lots of unexpected breakdowns. The benefit of just washing the bike yourself is not to be underestimated as it's then you find small cracks which can lead to catastrophic failure.