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Looking for a success story at the Repair Café? Then come and visit us with your bicycle. Bicycles are number two in the top ten of most brought in products. The success rate is also very high: 86 percent of the bicycles brought in are successfully repaired, according to the RepairMonitor in which repairers register their repair data.

Maintenance extends your bicycle’s life

Bicycles are easy to repair, and parts are readily available. Bicycles that could not be repaired were generally too worn or rusty. A tip from the Repair Café is: properly service your bicycle. It will make it last longer.

Visitors mainly come to the Repair Café with problems with tires, chains, lights, brakes, wheels, and gears. For repairers such as Paul Swartjes of Repair Café Nieuwegein these kinds of issues are a piece of cake. When repairs take a long time, he refers visitors to the bicycle repair shop. He does the same when expensive parts need to be replaced.

Cleaning your bicycle

According to Paul, proper bicycle service is essential. He sees people dropping in for the simplest things: a bent wheel, a rigid kickstand. At the Repair Café, you can learn how to solve these simple problems yourself. But often you can also prevent them by cleaning your bicycle.

You can clean them with hot, soapy water and a garden hose. When mud and rust are removed between the parts, a bicycle often runs a lot smoother. By cleaning regularly, you will also discover early when something is loose. The loose part can then be tightened with a wrench.

Use WD40 on moving parts of your bicycle

You can spray WD40 on moving parts. This water repellent spray makes a bicycle run smoother. Do not spray WD40 on the chain! For this, you have special chain grease. Paul advises you to clean your bicycle every six months.

Top bicycle brands in the Repair Café

Gazelle, Batavus, Giant, Union, and Sparta are Repair Café’s most common bicycle brands. There is no apparent difference in reparability between these brands. The difference between bicycles is in the type of parts. When replacing a part, make sure you buy the right one to match your bicycle.

For example, harder blocks often seem the best option as they wear more slowly than softer ones. However, if your bicycle has a fragile rim, it may wear out faster. For sound advice, you can contact all kinds of bicycle specialists.

Repairing bicycle tires

Almost a third of all bicycle repairs in the Repair Café regard the tires. They are often punctured or flat. Nearly half of them had to be patched. In the Repair Café, you can learn how to do this. Repairer Paul thinks that everyone with a bicycle should have a tire repair kit.

According to the information in the RepairMonitor, many bicycle tires had to be replaced. Only a few needed to be inflated. A mere 10 percent had to have a valve repaired or replaced.

Bicycle repair tips

The RepairMonitor provides the following five tips to repair a bicycle:
1. Chain problems can almost always be solved by adequately adjusting the chain;
2. Lights often work again after you have cleaned the contacts;
3. Brakes can be repaired by replacing or modifying the brake cable;
4. Wheels are often difficult to repair, but easy to replace or secure;
5. Gears often work again after adjustment, cleaning, and lubrication.

Repair your bicycle yourself or drop by the Repair Café!

Do you need help repairing your bicycle? Then come to a Repair Café in your area. Want to do the repair yourself? Then find a repair guide at iFixit! You can also use these step-by-step guides to prepare your visit to the Repair Café. This way you can read what to expect. 

This post has 12 comments

  1. Hi I have a mountain bike and the front wheel has buckled. I have tried to fix it myself but have made it worse. I need help please to make the wheel straight that’s all. Need someone experienced please. This is a simple mountain bike for my son. Wanted him to enjoy cycling. I am in Bradford West Yorkshire.

  2. Hi, I work at a Special Needs School. As you know the cuts in Education have left all schools with little to no spare cash. We have quite a few bikes, which we use on the premises, and a repairman comes every Friday morning. Unfortunately we can not afford to give him the time or money to do all the work necessary. Do you have any volunteers who would be willing to come and fix them, as a one off? Our students love to ride but there are usually only two bikes working at any given time. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you either way.

  3. I have a Pinnacle ladies bicycle which has been in my bike shed for over a year and before I ride it again it will need a general service; in particular, the tyres are flat. I live in Bark Hart Road, Orpington. Can you assist please.

    1. Dear Martin,

      the assistance of the Repair Café volunteers is free. If material is needed to repair your tires, the costs for the material would be for you.
      Why don’t you get in touch with a Repair Café near you, to see in how far the volunteers there can help and advise?
      You can find an overview of all Repair Cafés including a map to zoom in here on our website:

      Good luck!

  4. just bought a fold up bike, but brake and gear cables are well shot, Can you supply and fit new for me if so what would be the final cost. Its a univeral storeaway 3 fold up bike.

    1. Dear Mike,

      You can best get in touch with volunteers of a local Repair Café near you. You can find all Repair Cafés and their contact details, as well as a map to zoom in on locations, in the overview of our website.

      Good luck!

      Repair Café International

  5. I have an E-bike. It worked well till water got into the head lamp and damaged the led circuit. So I contacted the supplier to replace the head lamp. They told me they don’t supply spares. So I purchased a head lamp, hoping to fit it with a led lamp and holder. When I came to connect and switch on, something blowed in the control box, which meant no power at to the bike anywhere. So my question is: can you help me in any way? I have purchased another control box on line, but it’s all in Chinese I have checked the fuse and that didn’t blow. Can you advise?


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