Dr Bike in Lockdown

The fantastic weather of March and April weeks has now gone, and having breakfast before our first Dr Bike workshop of the year due to Covid-19, its pouring with rain!


We need to get to our storage containers where we hold our workshops early, because to aid social distancing, we’ve set up a booking system with twenty appointments and they all went within 48 hours!


As I get my bike out to cycle down, the rain stops thank goodness and I’m first of the three volunteer mechanics to arrive.


Tasks on arrival;

  • Get the donated bikes out and on display, they are available for anyone and we just ask for a donation.

  • Get the gazebo out and ready to put up when the others arrive.

  • Tool kits sorted and ready.

  • Workstands out.

Soon the others arrive, and we get the gazebo up, we’ve worked out a plan so that we can social distance and each of us still have access to the stock of spares and more specialised tools. An addition is a bowl and soap, and one of the mechanics has brought hot water for us to wash with - luxury!

It's 9.30am and our first appointments start to arrive. For the next four and a half hours, we three are constantly busy and we have another helper who chats to people when they arrive to ‘triage’ their bikes.


It's mainly fairly basic stuff - adjusting gears and brakes, occasionally replacing cables and brake blocks. Sometimes a more extensive repair is needed, which we will do if we have the parts, but more likely our mechanic who runs his own repair business will give a quote.


There's a couple of no shows from our list of bookings, which is disappointing, but find out later that a chain snapped on one bike on the way down, we sort him out a few days later!

If only bike owners would use a few drops of oil on their cables! Most of the problems we see, especially with gears are corroded cables not moving easily through the outer cable.


As well as the repairs both booked and just turning up, we have a few people come to look at the bikes we have available. Despite quite a bit of interest on Facebook, only one is taken on the day - although one lady swaps her bike for one of ours and a couple of days later another person who couldn’t get there asks for a bike.


As often happens just before we are scheduled to finish at 1pm several people arrive with bikes that need a lot of work and we finally finish just after 2pm after twenty-eight bikes have been checked, adjusted and repaired!


Then we pack everything away, lock up, and go back home. We’ll be back next month.

Dr Bike in Chesterfield has been running for three years now with eight workshops per year, the smallest number of bikes we’ve had on a very wet day was twelve and we regularly see twenty plus. We all really enjoy it and it serves a real need for those who probably don’t consider themselves as ‘cyclists’, they just use a bike to get around.


Chesterfield’s free Dr. Bike surgeries take place in Queens' Park, Chesterfield on the first Saturday of each month between 9:30am and 2pm, the last two of the year take place on Saturdays October 3rd and November 7th.

Chesterfield’s free Dr. Bike surgeries take place in Queens' Park, Chesterfield on the first Saturday of each month between 9:30am and 2pm, the last two of the year take place on Saturdays October 3rd and November 7th.




Words & Images: Alastair Meikle

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West Studios,

Sheffield Rd,

Chesterfield

S41 7LL


Mobile: 07764 801080
paul@s40local.co.uk
Open: 9am - 5pm Mon - Fri

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