|ONE-DAY WORKSHOP CURRICULUM
As of April 2010, more than 8000 people have attended the free one-day
workshop in Ghana, and gotten a bike for 'half the regular Accra price.'
The workshop has been given more than 330 times since Y2K.
A sound half-price mountain bike is $19, skinny tires are $13, kids'
bikes $7, at current exchange rates. The price is the same even in the
far distant reaches of the country.
That's about Ghana. In late 2009, we took the model to Sierra Leone,
held 6 'mini-workshops' with groups of 10 to 15 people, using bikes we
had to buy in the capital, Freetown. The response was tremendous, and
we're planning for on-going programs now in Sierra Leone.
The main point of the workshops is simply to introduce people to the
idea of maintenance and to become aware of small problems before they
become big ones. That essentially, is our mantra. "if you have the
small problem repaired before it can become a big problem, you will save
money in your pocket," I hear our lead trainer George, say again and
again during the workshop.
One of our workshop hosts, a Peace Corps volunteer named Tonya made this
point, "Some people didn't realize that you can fix your bike yourself.
Especially punctures. Some were saying they take it to a fitter and pay
[22-55 cents]. Now they can just fix it themselves."
Essential to the workshops is the Practicals, when everyone gets a
chance to actually practice the repairs talked about. Hands-on learning
is what we call it in the states.
The outline is written in my best Ghana English, because early on I
discovered that George and Samson both read it verbatim to the group
before elaborating on their main points. D.P.
||One-Day Bicycle Maintenance And Repair Class Curriculum
VBP people, the host, the fitters
Goals of the Workshop:
For you to be able to take care of your bike so that it will not spoil
for a long time. This will save you money and your bike will help you
You will learn by practice doing the basic repairs and adjustments.
Bikes will be chosen at the end of the class. You will be working on
different bikes throughout the day. Don’t think that because you are
working on this bike, that this one will be yours. Those who came in
time will choose their bikes before those who arrived late. If you wish
to leave early you will not receive your bike.
Throughout the day we will have practicals that everyone is expected to
participate in. This is when you learn the best. If you refuse the
practicals you may be sacked and your money returned.
The fitter is here today to learn more about these bikes, and to become
more perfect in his abilities. This way he will be able to make better
repairs to your bike.
At mid day we will break for something to eat.
If you give someone a bicycle, tomorrow when the bike spoils, they will
come back to you for another bike, but if you teach someone to repair,
when it spoils they will fix the problem.
A small problem will take some time and maybe small money to repair. If
left to become a big problem it may completely spoil your bike.
How many of you know how to ride?
How many know how to use gears?
How many have made bike repairs before?
We will be giving a set of tools for everyone to be able to use.
Tell who is to be made in charge of the tools.
The tools are:
foot pump, with car valve attachment
spanner set 8mm-17mm
12” shifting spanner
star and flat screwdriver
wide mouth pliers
4-5-6 mm allen keys
How many of you have used these tools before?
Using spanners- Proper size is best. Be sure to set the spanner squarely
on the nut. If you don't have the proper sized spanner, the shifting
spanner is the next best. Show how the shifting spanner is adjusted to
fit the nut firm and tight.
Use pliers only when there is no other choice. Show damaged nut or bolt
Tightening bolts- it is like a bottle or a jerry can, turn the same way.
Show a screw top bottle, open and close it for the class.
clockwise tightens and anti-clockwise loosens.
Show how to loosen and tighten the seat pole.
Show how to remove and reinstall a wheel, front is easiest,
explain and practice with quick-release. How do we explain quick
Practical- everyone will practice using spanners to loosen and tighten
nuts on seat pole and front wheel.
3. Tires and punctures
Lecture— Tires should always be properly inflated. An underinflated tire
will soon spoil both the tube and the sidewall of the tire. Show a
damaged tube and tire.
Note the differences between the local valve, Chinese valve, and the car
valve. Many home used bicycles come to Ghana with car valve tube, and
you can only find them to buy as home used. The car valve tube is
stronger than the local valve tube.
The valve neck should always be straight.
Perform puncture repair with cold patch. Some punctures are easy to
find. For a slow leak you will need water to find the place. Check
inside of tire for thorns.
Practical-- Practice pumping tires and checking for puncture, make
repairs.. Try to have only those people who have never repaired a
puncture perform the puncture repair.
Have several extra tubes for people to practice puncture repair.
Lecture-- There are four sets of bearings on your bicycle. They should
all be checked regularly for looseness or tightness. (each wheel, bottom
Hold the front wheel between your knees and push the steerer forward and
Hold one crank arm and move it from side to side. Don’t hold the pedal
or you may mistake looseness in the pedal for looseness in the
To check the bearings in the wheels, hold the wheel by the rim and push
and pull. You will feel it if it is too loose.
Bearings out of adjustment will quickly spoil
Wheels should spin freely. Turn the bicycle upside down and slowly spin
the front wheel. If it stops quickly there is a problem. It could be the
brake rubbing the wheel, or it could be the bearings are too tight. If
the bearings are too tight, not only will it make you work too much to
ride your bike, it will soon spoil your wheel. Check the rear wheel
Practical—Everyone will inspect the four bearings on a bicycle. Show
everyone bearings that are too loose, and those which are too tight.
Then they will turn bicycle over and spin the wheels. If a wheel stops
quickly, why? Is it brakes, or is it bearings or mudguard or?
If you find tight wheel bearings, remove the wheel, and turn the axle by
If your bearings are too tight, or too loose, one of the trainers will
adjust it. If bearings problems are left alone, they will quickly spoil
the bike. These repairs are too complicated for beginners.
Lecture-- The chain should be kept clean and oiled. A dry or dirty chain
will spoil and will shorten the life of your chain ring teeth and the
also the free. Use iron brush to clean. Put a little machine oil on the
chain and then wipe it with the rag. Too much oil draws dirt. Don’t use
vegetable oil because it will dry out and leave a sticky dirt on the
If your chain makes a kissy kissy sound when you ride, it is too dry and
needs small oil.
Practical—Chain and bearings.
Everyone will practice cleaning a dirty or dry chain, applying oil.
Lecture--There are FIVE or more kinds of brakes. There is the Phoenix
brakes, racer brakes, mountain brakes, drum brake and coaster brake.
Show each of the different brakes types.
For the phoenix, racer and mountain, how do the brakes stop your bike?
When the brake pads press against the rim. Your brake pads should meet
squarely against the rim. If the pads hit the tire then the tire will be
quickly spoiled. Show a tire damaged by rubbing brakes.
Brake adjustment. The easiest way to adjust brakes is with the barrel
screws that are found on some bikes. Also show how to tighten the cable
Practical-- Everyone will look at their brakes. Are the shoes aligning
correctly to the rim? Does your bike have a barrel screw adjustment? Try
tightening your brakes with the barrel screw and by tightening the
Lecture-- Selectors help you go easily up the hill and more quickly on
flat and downhill. Show how the selectors move the chain to the
different gears. How many gears does this bike have?
Show how the small screws limit the movement of the selector.
When you have problems changing gears, never never push harder. If there
is a weakness, you will break something at the moment that you push
Practical- in groups of two people, everyone will practice changing the
gears on the bikes. Watch how the selectors move the chain. Are you
able to reach all the gears? Does the chain fall off? Call a fitter to
make adjustments if there is a problem.
8. Choosing the proper sized bicycle for you
You should be able to stand flat footed on the ground, and not have your
privates touch the crossbar, or the bike is too big for you.
The seat should be raised or lowered so that the leg will almost fully
extend when pedalling, if you want to be using your legs to their
Show maximum extension points for seat and steer tubes. If these tubes
are extended beyond these points, they could bend or break, especially
when you are going fast.
Discuss some of the riding hazards. How gravel can make you fall,
especially if you apply the brakes while turning in gravel. Be
considerate of people walking, often they cannot hear you coming from
9. The Ride
Take a short ride-practice using gears to maintain pedaling speed, which
should be constant at one revolution per second. Try to go to a place
with a steep hill or deep sand, so they can practice downshifting at the
correct time to get through the difficult place easily. Tell them again
that if the pedals become stuck while changing a gear to go gently. Do
not push too hard when changing gears because that’s when things