I got an email this week from a local bike shop about some bike maintenance classes being held at the shop in the evenings. They call it Bicycle Chain University (BCU) though I think the use of the word “university” is a bit strong for single-session “classes” on stuff like how to lube your chain. To be fair they do have more advanced courses like wheel truing and bottom bracket bearing adjustment.
On the surface this seems like a self defeating concept for bike shops given that for every customer they teach to “do it yourself,” they’ll lose at least one customer for their maintenance services (or more if customers start working on friends’ bikes). If you think about it though, you really can’t learn all that much in a single 2-hour session (as they say, just enough to be dangerous) but YOU WILL become confident in purchasing and using your own tools and supplies. Park tool knows this and they have created dozens of free online bike repair tutorials on their website which generally leads customers to purchasing Park tools. The classes also help create a little buzz around the stores which is certainly appreciated by most struggling local bike shops.
In the end though, I think I’ll be skipping BCU this semester, I prefer to leave my critical bike maintenance to the pros. See you at graduation.