Sunday, October 28, 2012

BICAS Build-A-Bike Workshop

Earlier this month I took a Build-A-Bike workshop at BICAS where you take a donated bicycle and re-condition it with new grease and parts and adjust everything for optimal operation.  The class was divided into 5 days that ran about 4 hours each day.  The following topics were covered:

Day 1: Fixing flats and re-conditioning hubs
Day 2. Headsets and bottom brackets
Day 3. Brakes & wheel truing
Day 4. Drivetrain: Chains & derailleurs.
Day 5. Final details and test drive.

Our instructors Ash & Kristen were very knowledgable and patient with us while we struggled with adjusting just so, which was the most difficult part.  The class was helpful in helping us learn what each part is called and also how to determine and use the appropriate tool for each job.

My "lab partner" Jan and I worked on a Trek Multi-Sport 720, and if I remember correctly it was 62 cm, which is WAY too tall for me.  The Trek was very abused, so we didn't have to make too many adjustments to it.  There were other very different bikes that the other people in the class were working on, which was nice since we could get exposure to all the nuances of different parts (i.e. sealed bottom brackets)

Overall, I really enjoyed the class and highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in gaining knowledge of the inner workings of bicycles and the tool required to work on them.  The class was $80, but you will receive $40 in shop credit that can be used toward shop time, used parts or bikes.

Entrance to BICAS

The class workshop

My lab specimen

Cross-section of a headset

Ash teaching us about headsets

My lab partner Jan

Lupe, one of the many mascots at BICAS

Ash demonstrating wheel truing.

Wheel truer, AKA field goal posts.

Learning about drivetrains.

Jan getting the most important finger stuck in the handlebar.

Jan putting the bike through its paces.



  1. There's nothing like hands-on learning when it comes to bikes and BICAS is good at it.

    Bicycle Tutor is probably the best or only online trainer. I believe the video tutorials are now pay per view, but the corresponding text and photos are free, as is the forum.