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The 3 TEES: Tips, Tools & Troubleshooting

all seasons in one day

Every time you ride, you have an opportunity to help encourage a cycle friendly culture



Basic bicycle maintenance is achievable by even the most tool squeamish. Real repairs are a different story and for that you can take your bike to a shop.

There are a few legends out there who have done a better job of online maintenance and repair then I can:

Or just get a book out of the library.

My main advice is to just give your bike a simple once-over each week like you would your car, home or lover: clean, tweak, inflate and then lube up. 30 minutes to an hour of basic maintenance a week will ensure your safety and a sweet ride.


Under $100 at the right place will set you up with a decent enough start-up kit. With that $100 I would buy:

  • Allen keys or Y Hex wrench key (4mm,5mm,6mm & 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm)
  • Tyre levers
  • Puncture kit (easy and light self adhesive patches for on-the-go repair and old-school rubber cement kit for permanent repair)
  • Monkey wrench
  • Pliers with cable cutting/stripping blade
  • Cross-head and Flat-head screwdriver
  • Mini-Pump (with built-in valve piece)
  • Wet chain oil (for bikes - not car oil)
  • Teflon-based light oil (for all the little parts)
  • Degreaser or (if used sparingly) turps or diluted washing up liquid
  • Cassette & chain cleaning brush set

Don't forget to check out the BUYING NEW/USED pages to get some of these 2nd hand or at least at a good price. If you have a little more money and want good tools then I recommend Park Tools.


Here's just a bit of extra advice I've picked up here and there.

  • A good guide to find the problem on your bike is to listen to all the pops, squeeks, clicks then consult this guide: Listening to Noises
  • As well as a good listen have a good feel to help locate problems
  • A bike is relatively simple mechanically and the more time you spend trying to fix it yourself, the more you will know for next time
  • If you've got some rust here and there, spray on some WD40 or similar and go at it with a wire brush or one of those green pan scrubbers and it'll be like new shortly.
  • If you're looking for the puncture in a tyre, don't bother with a tub of water just yet, just spit on it and you'll see bubbles where the leak is. Or use your cheek/chin to feel the air escaping
  • Standing a bike upside-down on a stand or against a wall will be good enough for basic repairs, rather than buying a bike stand
  • Use your repair skills to do friends/families bikes for beer or favours.

Hands-On Training

There are a bunch of places you can go in Wellington to get basic hands-on bike maintenance and repairs training for free or at a low cost, especially considering the savings you'll make on taking it to a shop.

  • Leo, resident mechanic at Rocket Bikes in Rongotai, is running a basic bike maintenance course on the 6th of April at 6:30 pm, and on the first Wednesday of the month thereafter. You’ll learn how to do things like change a tire, lube a chain, and all that sort of thing for a mere $15.

Call 387 3900 to book

  • Mechanical Tempest in Aro Valley (see BUYING USED guide) will help you learn your way around a bike for free
  • A few other bike shops around town also do mini workshops free from time to time so keep your eyes open.

Posted by Follow Me 15:13 Archived in New Zealand Tagged bikes new_zealand bicycle cycling wellington bicycles tips_and_tricks

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