United Bicycle Institute

United Bicycle Institute- Ashland, Oregon 21-25MAR2011
Back to school! This time, it was bicycle repair school. The drive was 7 hours each way. I had heard about the UBI from the General during the Adventure Cycling Association Introduction to Touring class and wanted to learn more about bicycle repair. This introduction was very well done, the instructors were not only very knowledgeable but very patient and superb at teaching. It was a most enjoyable week of not only getting away from work but of actually learning something useful.
I drove down to Ashland from Puyallup on Sunday. I stayed about 3 km from the Institute at Cedarwood Inn, an inexpensive but nice motel. Monday was focused on wheels. We first learned how to change a tire and the different types of tires. We learned about taking the hub apart, removing the gears, re-packing the bearings, and getting everything back together. A short discussion on truing wheels was made, but little hands-on.
Nathan (instructor) tells a joke and Dan loses control!
Bryce works on his mountain bike
Tuesday was pedals, cranksets, and bottom brackets. I completely disassembled my bottom bracket and put it back together. We also learned about removing, inspecting, and changing chains.
Tom was my bench partner
Matt (instructor) helps Jose
Dan the Canadian, not laughing this time
Wednesday was derailleur day, starting with the rear derailleur, and then the front. Oddly, the front derailleur is more touchy to tune up than the rear derailleur. In the evening, I went for a bicycle ride. I went up route 66 headed for Klamath Falls, but got only about 14 km before the weather became a little concerning, and it started to get dark.
Route 66
More Route 66
Lake on Route 66
Gnarly trees on Route 66- Mirkwood
Thursday was brake day. We had to completely dis-assemble caliper brakes, and then re-install them on the bicycle correctly. The instructors were a bit fussy about doing things correctly, since a bad setting for brakes could have serious consequences on the road. The weather was horrible today, with a mixture of rain and snow, so no thought of riding was possible.
Rich helps Tom
Matt shows us how to really wash a bicycle
The framebuilding shop with Robert (student) on right
Friday entailed pulling off the handlebars, headset, and removing the stem from the bike. This was fairly straight forward. We learned the correct method of washing and oiling a bicycle. After getting a tour of the frame building shop, we were handed certificates of completion and “graduated”. There was no test, since the true measure of success was in how well the bicycle worked.Bryce needed a lift up to Portland which provided me a delightful companion to keep me awake on the road, and then I was able to get home by 2300 Friday night.
To Matt, Rich, and Nathan I say “Thank You”. To everybody else who enjoys riding bicycles, this is a class very much worth taking. It’s fun. Matt, Rich and Nate are delightful characters that add a tremendous enthusiasm to not only cycle repair, but to cycle riding in general. A class like this could someday save your life, if you are out and away, with a broken bicycle. It has my highest recommendation.
The workbench
Our class – from top left clockwise – Michael, Bryce, George, Ryan, Jordan, Rico, me, Bridget, Don, Tom, Rebecca and Dan.