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Ideas/help with community outreach event involving cleaning/servicing bicycles?

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Ideas/help with community outreach event involving cleaning/servicing bicycles?

Old 04-03-17, 08:54 AM
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jlax2485
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Ideas/help with community outreach event involving cleaning/servicing bicycles?

Hi Everyone, I am looking for help/ideas regarding a community outreach event involving bicycles. Our church wants to have a day where people from the surrounding neighborhoods can bring their bicycles to be cleaned/inspected/serviced. I have experience building bikes from bare frames and servicing my own rides. We have a few members who ride bikes, and a few others who are interested in helping, but none have much experience servicing bicycles.

We will likely see a lot of kids bicycles and mountain bikes. What would be a good, cost effective way of helping these people, that would be something the non-experienced helpers could do? I have bike specific tools and we have all of the other hand tools we could need (hex keys, torque wrench, spanners, etc.).

Realistically, here is what I was thinking:

1. Clean/wash bikes- especially chains/cassettes.

2. Inspect chains (w/ chain checker tool), inspect cassettes, chain-rings for wear. Lube chain.

3. Inspect brakes for wear, inspect tires, check air pressure. Inflate tires to spec.

4. Inspect headset for wear, adjust as-necessary.


In terms of consumable supplies, I was thinking of getting a few inner tubes, a few chains and a few sets of cartridge brake pads for V-brakes, aside from the obvious things like de-greaser, chain lube and grease. What are the most common sizes of those consumable items that would make sense to buy?

Thanks for any help/insight you can give me.
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Old 04-03-17, 09:29 AM
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Liability insurance and lots of it.
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Old 04-03-17, 09:32 AM
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My opinion:

Stay away from fixing things, if possible. Your church probably doesn't have liability insurance that would cover such things, should an issue arise. If you do decide to go forward with fixing things, limit it to things like tightening mounting bolts/nuts, lubing chains, inflating tires, or fixing flats. Just from the time I have worked in shops, brakes are a non-sequitur for many people—what seems like an obvious thing is not as easy to get proper performance from as it first appeared. Ditto for derailleurs, if present on the bike. Maybe partner with a local shop who will lend a mechanic for the day, if you want more... There will certainly be someone around that would accept the publicity in lieu of payment.

Just something as simple as showing people how to properly inflate their tires/lube their chain will go a long way for community outreach.
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Old 04-03-17, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
My opinion:
-Snip-

Maybe partner with a local shop who will lend a mechanic for the day

-Snip-
Agreed here. Either a local shop or local COOP. People come in all of the time to our coop and ask us to do things like this. Most of the time we say yes.
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Old 04-03-17, 10:13 AM
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Bikes workstands and a place to work away from owners.

Proper tools

a tagging system to ensure owners and bikes don't get separated.
Have a quality check list.
have an acceptance check list (i.e. is some one has a bike that is single speed on a freewheel, but no brakes....don't touch it),

have all work checked by someone else or the most experienced person (using the quality check list)

keep it at fix flats and adjustments. Chains get complicated, even inner tubes are not as easy as you think (26, 24, 20, 27, 700c etc)

find a way to distribute helmets and light (front and back) (this might be a more valuable approach)

I have worked with local bike charity off and on over the years, and they instituted all of above and more once it went beyond a guy, his tools and stand, in a local park. they are much bigger than that now, but might be able to give you some insite (goodkarmabikes.org - Good Karma Bikes)
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Old 04-03-17, 05:57 PM
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I would add to your checklist very rough wheel truing, i.e. getting out the worst wobble, so brakes don't rub.

I best most of the bikes you'll see are in bad shape from initial mis-assembly or disuse, rather than actually being worn out. I bet you won't even find one worn-out chain or cassette in 100.

The biggest issues will be flat tires (and half of them won't even have punctures, just pump 'em up!) and rubbing/maladjusted brakes. With brakes hopefully you can set it and forget it. But for flat tubes (with punctures), I think better to teach a man to fish... buy a bulk order of cheap, vulcanizing patch kits. Show them how to fix their flat, give them a brand new patch kit to take home. (You use patches/glue for demonstration, let them each take home unopened glue -- better than using each glue once and sending them all home to dry out)

For the past couple years I've led the volunteer assembly team for Huffy bikes donated by my work to local military kids.

The tools that will come most in handy will be:

15mm wrench for axle nuts, pedals. (easier than futzing with an adjustable wrench)

10mm wrench often useful for brake cable clamping bolts.

5mm allen wrench is most common on bikes, sometimes you'll see 6 and 4.

Small screwdrivers for derailleur adjustment.

Spoke wrench (can't say what size!) for rough wheel truing.

Vice grips and pliers are always useful for something!

Last edited by RubeRad; 04-03-17 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 04-04-17, 06:07 AM
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Thanks everyone for your input. Now the next step is to figure out how to advertise to get people to come!
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