Mobile Bicycle Mechanic Southport Merseyside

Business Name: Cycle Tech Southport
Phone Number: 07749 659239
Contact: Alistair Imrie



Specialising: Repairs and servicing of all types of bicycle.  Work can be done on site or collect/return service available. Area covered is Southport and surrounding areas such as Formby, Ainsdale, Crossens, Scarisbrick and anywhere within 10-15 miles.

Cytech Level 2

During the last 5 years, Alistair has been working as a fully qualified Cytech level 2 mechanic in the cycling industry. This has been at both a Cycle Hire Centre in Southport and a local bike workshop in Ainsdale. Before starting his own mobile bike business to support the many cyclists in around Southport.

Cycle Tech Southport

Finding A Bicycle On ebay

When looking for a bargain, it is likely these days that you will turn to eBay for a second-hand bike. While there are bargains to be had, when buying a second-hand bike, you need to be careful, because you may have a large repair bill to go with the bargain price. Even if the person is not intending to be dishonest, their idea of the perfect condition may mean clean but worn out. In recent weeks two of our repairers have given out bills of well over £100 to make a bike usable, even though they were described as "good as new".

"Buying a bicycle on eBay, usually means you are buying someone else's problem"

There are a few things you should do when considering buying on eBay:

1) Never pay cash - always use one of the schemes that gives you protection.
2) Always collect in person - do not have it posted to you, and do not meet in some car park halfway.
3) Always ride the bike. Here is a quick road test checklist:
- Pedal quite hard in every gear front and rear. If there are any skipping and banging, assume that you are going to need a new chain, cassette, and chainrings. That is a big bill.
- If there is a grinding or wobble from the pedals that might mean another big bill.
- Check that the brakes work, especially that they release and apply evenly. Hydraulic brakes should work perfectly. While a new set of pads for a standard bike are usually a few pounds, disc brake pads are expensive.
- Does the steering feel free? Stiff or lumpy steering could a major repair.
4) Examine the tyres. Is the rubber perished? Are there odd bulges or cracks. Is there tread left?
5) If you are buying a bike with suspension, does it seem right - does the bike rock about with the front brake applied? If you are buying a bike with expensive forks, these are supposed to be serviced regularly and this usually means sending them away to the manufacturer - but most people don't bother. Forks often are 1/3 of the cost of a bike, so any suspicions, walk away.
6) Spin the wheels - are they straight? Minor wobbles can usually be sorted out, but it needs someone who knows to judge. Can you wobble them from side to side - loose wheels that have been left often end up with damage.
7) A clean bike does not mean it is a well maintained bike.

A close inspection will save you money, this Marian has only minor problems.  

Over time there are parts of bikes that do wear out, including wheels, bearings, cables and the whole drivetrain. For example, a chain usually lasts 2000 miles or less, and if it is not changed causes a lot of damage, so be wary of commuter bikes, even if they are carefully maintained. Off-roading and BMX are bikes designed to be abused, but therefore are prone to accident damage - the bargain is the mountain bike that is used on road, not the one owned by the expert who knows how to ride it, even if perfectly maintained!

The other thing to bear in mind is that if you are buying an expensive bike at a bargain price when it comes to repairs, you need to decide whether you are going to maintain that quality or whether you are going to put cheaper parts on. Also, old bikes can be difficult to get spares for, even if they are only a few years old.

Buying A New Bicycle

Is something which is well worth spending some time on. Whatever level of experience you have as a cyclist, choosing a bike which is right for your physique, requirements and the type of cycling which you intend to do is essential.

With today's easy to buy online sales and cheap deals, it's always worth noting where will you turn to for customer support when things go wrong? buying a bike online, normally means the bike has been flat packed into a box and will need assembling and setting up. Also how easy is it to send back in case of warranty and always search online for reviews about the bike you intend to buy and about the company selling before you part with your money should things go wrong.

What else you should think about:
Determine what your current and near future use of the bike will be.
Set a budget, but be flexible, as spending a bit more you give you a lot more. If you haven't bought a bike for a long time you may be surprised at the price and accessories you will need. 

There are many types, styles of a bicycle which all have many different uses. Touring Bikes, Folding Bikes, Electric Bikes and so on. The frames can be made from different materials, Aluminium, Light weight Steel, Carbon, titanium or a combination of aluminum and carbon that all give a different feel for the rider. The choice of components is so wide, this can be determined by the price you pay. Or you can have a bicycle built to your own requirements. 

Broadly speaking, the three most popular types of a bicycle from which you can choose; these are road bikes, mountain bikes and hybrid bikes. All three types have certain specialties when it comes to handling different types of terrain and kinds of riding. Make a choice according to a sensible evaluation of your likely needs, rather than simply buying something which you think might make you look cool or fashionable.

Road bikes are the most popular and probably the most specialised of the different machines available. Designed for going fast on smooth road surfaces, they are lightweight and have thin wheels. Tyre grip is designed for tarmac, not for mud and gravel. The handlebars are at an angle and height which is designed to help the rider stay aerodynamic and this can often be uncomfortable for those who are not used to it. 

A road bike is a choice to make if you want to put in the distance along the roads. You can go impressively fast and does great fitness work with a machine such as this, but it is not a wise choice for either off-road riding or for handling commuter or shopping journeys. Basically, imagine this kind of bike as a sporty two-seater car capable of great speed and you will not go far wrong in visualising what kind of things it can cope with. 

The best road bikes tend to be Italian, with high-end frames still being made in Italy. The UK is known for making high-end steel frames for road, touring and tandems. 

Mountain bikes are probably a default machine for most people. These are excellent off-road vehicles and their wide tyres, great grip and excellent suspension, as well as ruggedness, make them the choice of bike for the adventurous cyclist. They are also robust enough to cope with daily commutes and shopping runs. Be aware, however, that if you have a lot of money to spend on a bike, but only intend to use it for mundane activities rather than trail adventuring, that you may end up with a machine with a whole load of off-road features that you never use. A bit like a 4X4 car used only for the school run. 

Video - Finding a good beginner mountain bike 

Hybrid bikes are a nice compromise between the two other types of bike and suit the rider who is serious about travelling using their bicycle, rather than the serious sports cyclist. The tyres on the bike are smooth, allowing for good speed on road surfaces, but the wheels are wide, meaning that it can cope with any unforeseen obstacles and alternative surfaces it might encounter. The rugged frame means that you can carry shopping if needed and the upright stance suits less serious riders who are after comfort rather than speed. 

Size matters, getting the right size bike is the one of the most important things when choosing your bike. The best place to head for advice about bike buying is your local bike shop, where the staff, like most cycling enthusiasts, will usually only be too happy to share their expertise and advice. (You will not have this service when buying online. And if you are overweight then the bike might not be fit for your purpose, with many road bikes built for riders up to 13 1/2 stone) It’s always best to see and try by sitting on the bicycle and have a feel for it. If you are unlucky enough to live in a town with no bike shop, then buying online is the only way. Then one of our qualified mobile bicycle mechanics would be able to help assemble or bike build and set up your new bike to current safety standards at your home. 

Bicycles can be also brought through the Cycle To Work Scheme, as a Tax free incentive. Many manufacturers price their bikes just under the £1000.00 mark, as this is the maximum value employees are limited to when buying a new bike through the scheme. The downside is that many bikes at £1000.00 are now having cheaper components fitted such as hubs, cranksets and front derailleurs fitted to keep the value in this range and you may find that you will have to make an upgrade of wheels in less than a year of buying your new bicycle. 
Generally, the manufacturers only make the frame and forks and then fit components, you probably pay more for a brand name with lower quality components than a less known brand with better components. 
On-line bikes are sold via the scheme including Halfords Wiggle and Evans. Some companies only offer a narrow selection thus limiting your choice. Once delivered you should always take care to inspect your new bike for correct assembly, or, have it assembled correctly by a trained mechanic. An unsatisfactory on-line bike can pose a problem if it needs to be returned and may result in a higher than expected cost. If you find you have a problem our mobile bicycle mechanics can carry out repair work once authorised by the supplier, give you a invoice and you can claim back the money. (The maximum amount varies with the supplier.) Once your bike is on the road Cycle Tech UK can provide a high standard of service cover for the life of your bike. 

Buying a new bicycle on-line: "You wouldn't marry someone you met online, without first meeting them" Everyone want's bargain, but make sure it's not false accompany buying online when something goes wrong. But this seems to be the future. 

Quick Guide: 

Note For 2013/2014:
  • Road bikes have become very popular and there are manufacturers who are now making very cheap and poor quality bikes. If you can't afford £750.00 for a road bike, have a look at buying a hybrid, as these cheap road bikes are heavy and like food labels, they will have misleading Shimano labels on the frame. If you are new to cycling or road bikes, you may find the riding position uncomfortable, talking with a professional bike shop will make sure you have the right size bike and setup. Woman and young riders with small hands need to make sure they can work the brake levers and feel comfortable
  • 29er's is still under debate but there is a market for 26" 650b 7 29er's  The market will be flooded with cheaply made 29er bikes, these bikes priced under £500.00 will have poorly made frames, which are heavy with poorly made wheels and components.   
The label says "Powered By Shimano"
Shimano makes a wide range of parts and the good name is used to help sell poor quality bikes.

Bicycles are not all created built equally:

Bicycle Shaped Objects Known in the trade as "BSO's" Found at Argos, Supermarkets and from catalogues- Not safe to ride, no customer care and no professional mechanic will touch them. 

Cheaply built bikes from Halfords under £250 - "Apollo" Poor quality parts, poorly assembled, with very little backup/support, no one wants to work on these bikes. Not an enjoyable bike to ride at this level as it will be heavy, have plastic pedals and brake levers which can break easily, cheap twist shift gears with poor gear parts making a poor un-smooth gear change and brakes feel spongy even when setup correctly if at all possible. Along with poor quality galvanised brake and gear wires, that soon corrode and make using brakes and gears impossible. 
Read Watchdogs article on BSO's Bicycle Shaped Objects  

Bikes around £350 "Hybrids & Mountain bikes" - Look for bikes with Shimano Altus/Alivio 8 speed Ez Fire gear shifters, Altus/Alivio rear derailleur. Giving easy use and more of an enjoyable ride. Only buy with front suspension at this level. Will have low-end wheels/hubs, chain, cassette and square tapper bottom bracket. Upgrading parts may not be compatible. Fitted with V-brakes that work well (Keep away from cable operated disc brakes.) 

Bikes around £500 Hybrids & Mountain bikes (Hardtail) - Will have slightly better, wheels, tyres, chain, cassette and good quality gears with Deore/Sora rear 9-speed derailleur.

Bikes from £650 - £799 "Mountain bikes (Hardtail), Entry level Road Bikes". Group sets will have a mix match of parts, better tyres fitted. 

Note: Marketing and branding - Each year new specification groupsets will become available and what was the latest thing last year, will be fitted to lower-priced bike the next, to help sell more.

Bikes around £1200 "Mountain bikes &  Road Bikes" -  Alloy frames, some road bikes Low-quality carbon frames. Road bikes will have 10-speed gears. Avoid Avid brakes and Sram gears at this level. Wheels will be cheaply made at this price range, many parts will need upgrading in less than a year. The well-known brands and their marketing make these bikes sound like a bargain. 

Bikes around £1700 "Mountain bikes Hardtail & Full sus with aluminum frame & mid-end Road Bikes" - Road bikes Alloy frames with Carbon forks and the start of some carbon frames. 

Bikes around £2000 plusMid-end Mountain bikes &  full suspension bikes with carbon frames & Road Bikes" - Better quality Carbon frames, Road bikes have a choice of gears: Campagnolo Veloce & Shimano Ultegra groupsets. Better built wheels. Mountain bikes better quality of suspension forks and XT groupsets. Spend a bit more for Ultegra DI2

Bikes from £3000 - Better built frames fitted with high-end components. 

Bikes from £5000 - Fitted Dura Ace DI2 gears

Bikes up to £8000 - Lightweight frame and components for top professional riders  

Bike builds From £2000 to £20,000 - Buy your own style of frame or even have your frame taylormade and fitted with the finest parts available. This will cost more than most complete bikes but will be a dream custom bike. See some of my bike builds

You may also like to read: Finding A Bicycle On ebay

"You will not find the quality of parts and group-sets on bikes like you did 5 years ago" 
Lower-end parts will be used from China, to help keep the prices low. Also, you may see a high-end group-set fitted as makes it attractive to potential customers but will have poorly built carbon or alloy frame.  (Buy Cheap Buy twice!)
Always read the Spec; to see exactly what quality of components you will get for your money. 

As with any machine, a bicycle will require servicing and maintenance at regular intervals depending on usage and conditions. Adjustment of gears, replacement of tyres and chains are things that require inspecting at regular intervals. This will help your bicycle last longer and give you more pleasure. 

As with choosing the right bike, is choosing the right set of wheels as you will soon find there are many designs and prices. Spending 30% of the bikes total value on wheels is a good guide.

Frame Comparison from Velogic Fit

Wheel spoke count per riders weight:

Expedition Touring Bikes

Has been very popular for many years, but even more so now as cyclist come to realise that specialist light weight steel frames have a better feel and can be more personal.

Do you imagine cycling your way around the world or across a continent exploring at your own leisure, seeing things and places where a tour bus never goes?
So before departing on a tour of a lifetime you will need to have the right bike for your needs, that will last and be comfortable.

"Steel is easy to love, because it loves you back." 

Cycle Tech UK can build any type of bike for your cycling needs and we have also partnered with specialist touring Bike builder Richard Delacour at Oxford Bike Works.

For enquirers of touring bikes made by Oxford Bike Works. Please view Referral form at the bottom of this page. Or click HERE

Expedition bike "Prototype" 

If you are going to tour for longer, then you will need a custom expedition touring bike that is built using high quality parts that can handle tours of over 6 months of riding and carrying all your gear. For tours over 6 months in remote areas, then you would need to upgrade the components of your bike when you buy it or build a bike using the same frame as above and upgrade components from the list below.

When building your bike bear in mind that depending on what type of gears (Internal hub or derailleur) and handle bars you are going to use; as this will effect other components you can use/match. You will need to work this out first as it could cost you extra money if you get it wrong/change your mind.      

Cycle Tech's Touring Bike Build list 
Use as a guide, as you will need to research for your specific bike/tour and comfort.
  • Steel Frame: That is engineered correctly for touring, that use 26" wheels, would have a lower bottom bracket than a standard bike to keep the center of gravity low for carrying the extra load, a longer rear frame triangle for making the bike more sturdy to ride and would also not not let your heel hit the rear panniers when pedaling. 
  • Wheels: Handbuilt 26" Specific touring wheels that have strong rims and that use 36 or 40 hole spokes. This size wheel is more available around the world and is built stronger than a 700c wheel. 
  • Rims: 26" MTB Rigida Andra or Ryde Sputink double wall rims that have at least 36 holes, 19mm wide and are for use with rim brakes.
  • Spokes: Broken spokes are the most common mechanical problem for cyclists on tour. Sapim and DT Swiss make the finest touring spokes.
  • Hubs: Phil Wood hubs. That has high quality sealed cartridge bearings that help run smoothly, keep out the dirt, water and involve less maintenance and tooling. (40 hole hubs available) A lot of cyclists use Shimano LX hubs for touring, they have loose ball bearings and cones. For LX hubs this will mean striping the hubs down, cleaning, re-greasing and adjustment of the cones regularly, to avoid wear/pitting of the hub cup and cones. Also Hope Pro 3 hubs are a very good upgrade.  
  • Tyres: This will depend on the use, if you are going to be touring mainly on tarmac roads with a little off road then the Schwalbe Marathon Plus is ideal. Is fitted with a Kevlar® strip inside the tyre to help reduce punctures. They come in different widths, if using wide tyres make sure they fit your bike without rubbing on the frame.  
  • Saddle: Brooks leather sprung saddle, there is specific saddles for woman. 
  • Bottom Bracket:  Hope, Chris King or Phil Woods (Under discussion; needs to have ceramic bearings for smooth running and long life , but also no need to carry special tools to service. More on this soon)
  • Headset: Chris King headsets use high quality sealed cartridge bearings that help run smoothly, keep out the dirt, water and involve less maintenance and tooling.
  • Pedals: Shimano single sided SPD touring pedals, that can be used with cleats or normal shoes.
  • Handlebars: In the UK cyclists tend to use drop road bars, in Europe they like butterfly/trekking bars and there is also the Mountain raised straight bar that you can fit bar ends. Depending what bars you use; will depend with what gear/brake levers/shifters you can use and this will also alter the length of the cross bar required when buying your frame (Shorter cross bar when using drop road bars as they give you a longer reach than straight bars)
  • Bar Ends: For use on straight bars that give you a different riding position.
  • Bar Stems: For that upright comfort position. 
  • Bar Grips & Bar Tape: For straight bars Ergon touring grips, give you comfort and have a clamp to stop grips moving. For drop bars is down to your preference, Brooks and Cinelli leather bar tape for long life, luxurious comfort and shock absorbing. 
  • Gear Shifters: 
  • STI shifters: that are used on drop road bars, tend to go out of adjustment quickly and have more moving parts than using bar end controls which are more favorable used.  Down tube shifter are the lest to have mechanical problems, but does mean taking your hands of the bars, which is not advisable when cycling with a heavy load. 
  • Thumb shiffters: Mean less to go wrong and can be fitted to straight bars Ultegra do 8,9 & 10 speed but are expensive. Other makes include Miroshift and Sunrace but not as good quality. Also for straight bars Shimano deore 9 speed MTB rapid fire shifters work well. 
  • Bar end shiffters: for dropped bars
  • Derailleurs: Going 8 speed, means a stronger chain, that is cheaper and readily available.  
  • Drive Chain: This is the cassette, chainset (Crank & Chainrings) chain and derailleurs. Using Shimano Deore XT 44, 32 & 22 tripple chainrings, Deore derailleurs, Shimano SLX HG61 9speed 11 - 32 T cassette and a KMC X9 K21 Chain. This gear ratio will give me low enough gears to cycle hills with all my touring gear. The life of a 9 speed chain used in dry non dusty conditions is 1500 miles! If you ride with a worn chain, it is going to wear the teeth of the cassette first, then the chainrings,  then the jockey wheels and you will get poor gear change and the chance the chain could fall off or even snap. I am going to use the derailleur system over the Rohloff hub on my touring bike build, as I have a good supple of parts available to me. I will carry 2 chains and be swapping my chain every 500 miles to get more wear out of the cassette, also clean the chain, rings, cassette and jockey wheels at the same time and replace the 2 chains and cassette before every 4000 miles so to save the life of the other components. See Chain Wear & Care............ 
  • Chainrings: Middleburn for long life rings
  • Internal Hub Gears: Rohloff  hub is a sealed gearbox, that is very reliable, low maintenance and easy use. The chain runs is a straight line, with less stress meaning it lasts longer than 9 speed derailleur chain and the chainring and sprocket can be turned around when it starts to wear. Oil should be changed annually or at least every 5000km. 
  • Brake leavers: For drop bars using V-brakes use Tektro RL520 leavers. For drop bars using cantilever brakes use Shimano Tigara Aero leavers. Can also fit Auxiliary levers to drop bars so you can brake from the top part of the bar. For straight bars use Shimano Deore XT brake leavers.
  • Brake calipers: For drop bars use cantilevers or V- brakes. If fitting cantilevers you will need cable fitting on headset to run cable. For straight bars Shimano Deore XT V-brakes. Both types of brakes use different brake cables.

What you need to carry will depend on the type of tour you will be doing, how long for, whether you are going to cycle and be camping in the mountains, remote areas or you will be close to towns where there is hostels and supplies nearby.
You will soon find out that cutting corners or buying cheap will affect your comfort and enjoyment of cycling.

Thule panniers, lights and GoPro

Max load: Every expedition specially built bike frame and forks will be different and you will need to check with the manufacture what the maximum load is. While the maximum load of up to 50kg is safe to ride, I wouldn't want to day after day. A bike is much nicer to ride with 5kg in each front pannier, and 15kg - 20kg evenly loaded on the rear (total of 25kg - 30kg), even less if staying in hostels/city, as less to carry in awkward situations. What you don't take you can always buy on your tour, if you take things you don't need you can sell or give away.

Cycle Tech's Touring Bike Equipment list 
  • Mudguards: SKS Bluemels trekking 
  • Prop Stand: These are not recommended by touring frame manufactures, as they can squash and damage the frame. Twin leg prop stand made by Pletecher is the best and don't over tighten. 
Special design by Oxford Bike Works Prop-stand and mudguard bolt fitting.
  • Panniers & Bar Bags: Keeping all your equipment dry, secure and easy to use. Ortlieb have been the trusted, most used waterproof panniers by cyclists for 30 years.
  • Racks: Braking a rack can be a common problem for cyclists on long tours, that often become overloaded. Tubus racks are a must have.
  • Lights/Dynamo Hubs: Coming soon
  • Bell: 
  • Shoes: Shimano MTB SPD shoes that fit well and can be used for walking. 
  • Tents: Easton tents are ultra light and pack easily in to panniers. Also view Nordisk & MSR tents are made for tough use.  
  • Sleeping Bags: Therm A Rest for the ultimate in sleeping bags, mattress and pillows that are compact and light.
  • Clothing: Wooly jumpers for those cold windy days. 
  • Cooking Equipment: More soon
  • Washing/hygiene: Keeping your self clean while out on the road cycling is not always easy, miles away from showers/water. There are products that can help, like Amway's 0001 LOC® organic cleaner that you can use without water.
  • Sun Cream: Using a good sun block and moisturiser to stop your skin burning and drying out from sun and wind. 
  • Food: I tend not to worry to much, I be more worried about putting weight on when cycling in Mexico. As long as you are eating lots of carbs, fresh fruit/veg and drinking plenty of water you will be fine.
  • Maps/GPS: More soon
  • Cameras: Gopro cameras are waterproof, can be fixed to bars, seat post or helmet, can take continues photo shots and video.  

Spares to take on a long tour

The right tool kit or spares can save your bike tour but tools are a heavy load.
For some parts like bottom brackets, chainrings and derailleurs you can have sent to you by some online suppliers, from a friend or family member. Keep a note of model and part numbers for easy ordering.
  • Spare spokes: Rear wheel could have 2 lengths (To allow for the dishing of the rear wheel) and the front wheel may have different length spokes also. 
  • Chain: Carry a short length of chain.
  • Quick link: 
  • Brake & gear wires:
  • Brake blocks:
  • Bearings: Ball bearings or cartridge type, depending on your hubs. 
  • Spare Tube:
  • Patch Kit:
  • Folding Tyre: Schwalbe Marathon Supreme folding tyre.
  • Electrical tape: For holding your gear together, until you find somewhere to repair.
  • Gear Hanger: If you have a aluminium frame, it will be fitted with a gear hanger, that can bend/snap to save the frame from damage, if you drop your bike or have a accident. 

These tools are based on using on parts as above, except the Rohloff hub. Different tools will be needed for square tapper type bottom bracket. For long tours you will need to carry all the tools to strip your bike down, rebuild and have the mechanical knowledge to do so. You should always start your tour with your bike ready to go, full overhaul service, new chain, cassette, tyres, tubes, brake blocks and all bolts checked.

Click image to enlarge. 
  • 1. Pump: M-Part light weight track pump with hose and gauge that's capable of pumping over 80psi. Very important to check your tyre pressures regularly and for any wear/damage, this will help to take the extra load you are carrying, run smoothly and reduce punctures.  
  • 2. Tyre Levers: 3 plastic leavers, I have found Campagnolo to be the strongest.  
  • 3. Chain Tool: Parktool 
  • 4. Quick link Pliers: For removing quick link from chain
  • 5A. Cassette removal tool & 5B. Chain-wipe: Both tools are needed to remove cassette along with a wrench to fit the removal tool.
  • 6A. Wrench/Spanner: 24mm spanner to fit cassette removal tool & 6B. 17mm spanner for Shimano hub lock nut.
  • Cone Spaner: For Shimano hub cones 13mm/15mm cone spanner Parktool DWCW4C. 
  • 7. Spoke Key: The correct size 
  • 8. Hex Keys: Parktool HXS1.2 or Snap-on good quality, so not to damage the head of the bolts. Sizes in mm; (2 or 2.5 for adjusting brake callipers) (3.0 for jockey wheels) (4.0 seat post clamp, bottle cage & rack bolts) (5.0 Seat post clamp, A Headset, Chainring bolts, brake block, brake callipers fitting bolts and derailleur cable pinch bolts) (6.0 for A headset and saddle) (8.0 for pedals) (10.0 for freehub body) You will need to check on your bike what sizes fit what part, may vary. 
  • 9. Screwdrivers: Small flat blade & Phillips for adjusting gear stop screws & removing rapid-fire cover. 
  • 10. Chainring Bolt Tool: Parktool, for changing worn chainrings.
  • 11. Cable Cutters: Parktool for cutting gear & brake inner & outer cables.
  • 12. Bottom Bracket Tool: Park tool Hollow Tech 2 tool
  • 13. Grease: Specific bike grease with Teflon. TF2
  • 14. Oil: Specific bike lube. Finish line or Muc-off  wet lube and/or dry lube. Depending on conditions; Dry lube will work in the wet but will have a limited life, it stops dust sticking to the chain which will act like sandpaper and rapidly wear parts out.  Note: STICK WITH THE SAME MAKE OF OIL: If you mix wet lub and dry lub with different makes of oil, you will need to clean your chain to remove all the remains of the old oil before adding new oil.     
  • 15. Cleaning: This is also important, to keep your bike running smooth and to last longer. Parktool have a small brush ideal for the drive chain area.
  • 16. Gloves: I use Venitex gloves everyday to fix bikes, change tyres, fit a chain and can easily fit into your panniers. 
There is a network of mobile bicycle mechanics in the UK Cycle Tech UK that will help with advice and build your touring bike for you. And if you are touring in the UK, Cycle Tech UK can help you with any mechanical problems or spare parts, helping you continue on your tour. Cycle Tech UK also offer the home bicycle mechanics school where you can learn to build your own bike and do on the road repairs like replacing a spoke and true a wheel.    

Dangers of cycling

Touring Latin America the biggest danger is wanting to stay longer, the other problem is being chased by dogs.
If you are new to cycling/touring, plan your route with care, avoiding killer mountains and over populated City's. Give yourself rest days, it's not a race, take each day at a time and you will have a lifetime adventure.

Before you setting off

Ride your bike fully loaded in your home town first before embarking on a epic journey; get a feel of your bike by doing a 30 mile ride or 2 day trip, as you may need to adjust your riding position and rearrange your luggage. Sometimes it is not easy to find the time to train, you can do this once you have set off by taking it easy and doing no more than 40- 50 miles a day for the first few weeks, with taking rest days. When I don't have time to get out on my bike, I use training rollers and do leg exercises to keep in shape.     

My off road weekend touring bike

Genesis Fortitude Adventure 29er

No suspension, just fat 29" tyres to take the shocks, also fitted is a Shimano 11 speed Alfine hub. Also has fitting for racks and 3 bottle cages. To see more on this bike build please view post

For enquirers of touring bikes made by Oxford Bike Works. 

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Happy cycling!