Episode 10 of the MountainBikesApart podcast is live.
In this episode we talk through bike maintenance and where to find the best information, after a great question from one of our listeners.
We also catch up with Tom and his current training block and learn a little about how training should change throughout the year.
Let’s get into that first…
Tom’s training block
Kicking things off, Tom tells us what his current training block involves, why he’s doing particular types of training and how it might be different from other times in the season.
He explains that he’s focused on preparing specifically for the main races of the season. These key races are the National MTB Championships in both cross-country and marathon, as well as the final round of the UCI MTB World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy.
He talks about how he’s trying to spend more time on the mountain bike to hone his handling skills and power transfer off-road. In addition, he explains that he’s also upping the intensity of his interval training alongside some big hours spent on the road bike building endurance.
Be sure to listen in to hear exactly what this involves and how your training should evolve from the winter into the key times in the middle of the season and you can learn more about Tom’s training at his website tombell.co.
As always, Tom and Colin then get into tackling a great listener-submitted question from Stephen, who asks a detailed question around bike maintenance and learning the skills to work on your bike.
Where to find information?
Stephen’s first concern is where to find useful information to learn from and asks which resources Tom and Colin would recommend.
Tom talks about the YouTube channel GMBN, which have a channel full of both bike handling as well as bike maintenance tips, everything from simple jobs like switching a tyre, up to more involved procedures like brake bleeding.
He also recommends Park Tool’s YouTube channel, since unsurprisingly the most famous bike tool company on the market also happens to have one of the best bike maintenance channels online. What’s more, it’s hosted by a quirky and entertaining mechanic called Calvin Jones.
Both of these channels are updated regularly, so provide maintenance tips for both very new and older bike components.
Colin also recommends Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance, which is a great book to learn the basics and the most common procedures that don’t change with every new standard that the industry brings out.
Another interesting part of Stephen’s question alluded to whether it’s worth taking a course or trying to gain a qualification in bike maintenance.
Tom and Colin agree that a paid course isn’t really necessary for the home mechanic and most jobs can be learnt via the videos and books discussed above. Qualifications are great for those who want to become shop mechanics and enter the industry, but aren’t required if you’ll simply be working on your own bike.
Typical jobs will involve changing cables, indexing gears and switching out components, which are fairly simple tasks once you get to grips with some of the basic skills.
Finally, what are some of the maintenance tasks you’ll want to do on a fairly regular basis to ensure your bike is working well?
One of the guys’ suggestions was to go over the bike with a torque wrench and make sure things like your seat post clamp, your stem bolts and pinch bolts holding the cables to the mechs are tight and haven’t come loose since your last ride.
Checking the tyres for correct pressure and making sure the chain is clean and lubed up won’t hurt either and will vastly reduce the chances of an annoying mechanical when you’re out on the trails.
Get in touch
As always, we want to hear from you if you’ve got any questions or comments for Colin and Tom to get stuck into.
We hope you enjoy this episode and we’ll see you in Episode 11. Happy riding!