Entering year 6 at Steel Town Cycles – We sell bikes too!

As many of you will know we are a family owned and run bike shop. Based in Blackhill near Consett, County Durham. 01207258270. We have gained a reputation for quality Service and Repairs on all kinds of cycles from your Kids first bike to a treasured High specification Road bike. We’ve also recently got our qualifications for work on Bosch and Shimano eBike systems. We can of course work on other eBikes not using these systems.

We are more than that; Advice , Custom builds, arts and accessories. Our latest addition, as some may have seen in our Facebook posts New bike sales and some curated Refurbished bikes. Currently most are clients bikes that they wish to sell on.

The Brands we have chosen to Stock are all UK based heritage companies; Dawes, Claud Butler and the fantastic Squish lightweight kids bikes. We currently have a small stock of all. Hybrid, MTB and Gravel bikes come in and see them. We hope to continue growing our offerings but we need your support. Like you’ve amazed us by allowing us to care for your bikes. We can also support you in your new bike purchase. Making sure that you have the correct bike for your intended riding. An MTB isn’t necessarily the best choice for riding the bridleways.

Hybrids have a reputation for being a bit dull, this isn’t the case with many being the perfect all rounder. Now featuring Disc brakes for more sure stopping wider tyres for increased riding comfort, with or without Suspension Fork. They can be used on bridleways tracks and road. With gearing to suit multiple terrain. We have a Claud Butler EXP 2.0 in stock £549, that’s a lot of bike for a small price. It’s not lacking on quality either with a strong but lightweight Aluminium frame, Shimano gears and powerful disc brakes. We also have Dawes Hybrids available to order.

Have a need for Off-road speed! Why not choose one of Claud Butlers awesome range of Gravel Bikes.

A gravel bike is a bike that has many uses. Fast bridle way, Forrest roads or the odd bits of tarmac. It’s a bike capable of it all. Stick some mudguards on it and it will serve you well for light touring or bike packing. Adventures are what these bikes are made for. With the Claud Butler range we are confident that you’ll find a bike to Suit your budget.

We have the Radical in stock in 50 & 54cm sizes ( that’s small and medium) 58cm(L) available to order.

Further information available at http://www.tgc.bike

Steel Town Cycles – Here to Serve

Steel Town Cycles is small independent bike shop based near Durham in the north east. We set up as a bicycle service and repair shop. Though we are now in our fifth year, our mission has remained very similar. To deliver the best in service and repair County Durham.

We are a small operation, but aim to treat every bike like our own. Due to this we may have longer turnaround times than most shops, however we are not a typical shop.

We provide the best advice that we can to help you get the most out of your cycling, wether it is helping you to choose the right tyres up to helping you to build up your own bespoke bike. We are by no means an elitist experience. All bikes no matter what brand or type are serviced.

We are working towards sourcing sale bikes, though this may not be in 2021 as many of our suppliers are out of stock or have long lead times. Preparation is the key at the moment. If you want a new bike for this year plan ahead and be prepared to wait.

We have a fully equipped workshop and can do most bike servicing and repairs. We are fully insured to work on your bikes. This is critical to ensure that you, the customer, have confidence in leaving your pride and joy with us. We are also members of the trade body; the Association of Cycle Traders and have Cytech Accredited shop status. We have an in-house wheel builder and we can supply all the parts for your perfect custom wheel set, whatever your requirements may be.

One of the services we offer is custom building of a cycle. We help you select the perfect build for yourself, depending on your requirements. It could be the ideal commuter bike, road or gravel/adventure bike. We can build any bikes. Though we specialise in Road, Gravel and Hybrid bikes. Mainly due to the area we live in and the scope of terrain on offer.

This is one our latest projects, a Kinesis Tripster ATR V3.

The customer supplied some well loved Campagnolo parts, a particular favourite of ours. We run Campagnolo on one of our own bikes and have 15 years + experience of working on and repairing this high end manufacturers equipment. This was quite a high budget build, however the spend is entirely up to you. We’ll make our recommendations and then build to your specifications.

So, wether it’s a bell you want, a puncture repair, getting an old treasured bike back in working order, a full refurb or a custom built masterpiece. Steel Town Cycles are here to serve our community and beyond. Go on treat your bike well this year.

More information can be found at our website https://steeltowncycles.co.uk/

Bikes, Commuting, Maintenance and avoiding the rogues

Cycling……. the affordable alternative to car ownership. Discuss

Our infrastructure might not be as good as Holland or even as cycle savvy as York. There’s no denying that bicycles are more popular than ever. But have many of you thought about using your bike as a means of transport to work? For the best part of 17 years I commuted from Consett to Wallsend by bike. It wasn’t always easy, more of a choice. With the right clothes it’s not so bad. My preference was always towards the journey in. I’d mix it up at times by taking a different route back when time allowed.

Now I hear you say it’s too far, I’m not fit enough. But you’re going to get fitter by doing it. Catch 22 right? By no means am I suggesting that you consider doing it every day. A friend of mine who id meet at Derwenthaugh Country Park, near Swalwell, used to drive and park up, then we’d cycle the remaining 9 or so miles together.

However the majority of commutes are much shorter than this. There’s a statistic somewhere that puts it between 3-5 miles. Around 30-45 minutes from the average person. If we replaced 2 journeys of this type a week, we’d be healthier and save money to boot. Cycling with your kids to school or of course persuading the secondary school kids that it’s beneficial would help us all.

The area formally known as Derwentside has the advantage of having many bridleways and quite roads to travel along. When I’m trying to get an idea of what type of riding folks visiting the shop I often ask them for the type of cycling that they do and enjoy. This informs me of the level of service proportional to its future use. There are some exceptions to this. If a bike is in too bad shape I may have to declare it uneconomical to repair.

Because cycling has become so popular, there’s a huge problem with supply and demand. Bikes are still being produced, but lead times are very long. Also some essential service items are also very difficult for us to source too. It’s never been more important to look after your bike. In particular the drivetrain; That is the Chain rings, at the front attached to where you pedal, the chain and finally the cassette or sprockets in the centre of the rear wheel on the right.

The above diagram is a simple bike check. This should take no more than a couple of minutes and should be performed before you ride the machine off down a hill for example.

The chain is the main item that we need you to look after. Keeping it oiled with a good quality bike specific lube, no that doesn’t necessarily mean expensive-our most popular is £6. But realise that the oil that’s keeping everything running smoothly also attracts dirt. Over time this build up, if it’s not removed will form a very effective course paste which will wear out the very things that are difficult to source at the moment.

Chainset- The spiked rings are the chain rings
The rear wheel showing a freewheel/cassette

So what are you to do. At the very least, wipe the chain off once a week. This can be achieved by turning the pedals backwards wiping off the chain with a rag

So, very briefly a warning of sorts. We’ve noticed a rise in the number of home made bikes or Frankenstein’s. These are generally assembled from a collection of parts. On a lot of occasions by people that are trying to cash in on the popularity and low availability of new bikes. Unfortunately in the majority of cases these people have very little if any professional or shop experience. This will almost certainly lead to parts being fitted to a cycle which are not compatible.

What you will get from coming to a independent bike shop is good advice. We are aware of a few of the dubious sellers on Facebook and can save you time, money and heartache. These people don’t care that the bike you just bought isn’t safe. An independent bike shop or Insured professional mechanic will be able to advise you.

We don’t always get it right first time, but we’ll always work together with our customers to provide the best impartial service.

Half Term High Jinx

Steel Town Cycles will be closed during the half term holidays. We’ll be talking the opportunity to recharge our batteries.

It’s been very busy since January, and we are taking a short family break. We’ll be back soon. Have a great holiday week.

Steel Town Cycles will reopen on Monday 7th June.

Your Local Bike Shop.

It’s been very busy if late and I’ve not had the opportunity to get any thoughts down. I’d very much like to be considered as an example of what a local bike shop should be and offer. The personal touch. A friendly and knowledgable guy……. This is what our customers have said in our reviews.

Like many of you I’m a parent who tries very hard to find that mystical work/life balance. I’m aware that this is quite a personal blog, but the little guy above is who I’m working for. I gave up a very good job and wage to follow my dream. It’s been a hard journey and it’s by no means over. When I started Steel Town Cycles, it was my intention to be like those shops that I grew up with, part of the scenery and part of an active cycling community.

Like many bike shops up and down the land I have a passion for this, it’s why we put in the hours we do to get your bikes back in tip top condition as soon as possible. Please remember that what I offer is not what is available at larger shops.

That personal touch and treating every bike like my own take time that the big shops don’t have or don’t want to offer. Recently the Government “Fix your bike” voucher scheme has meant that we’ve been busier. It’s a good thing and I hope those people discover their love for the experience of being out on two wheels and continue to keep their bikes going.

It’s in the interests of keeping your bikes going that I’m letting you all know that certain consumable bike parts are becoming very difficult or almost impossible to source, unless you have a very large buying budget, which as a one person operation I don’t. This is set to continue for most of the year. If I can offer any suggestions on bike preventative maintenance please call in to the shop.

There has with the surge of interest in cycling came many differing opinions regarding bike shops. I can tell you from both side of the counter that everyone is just trying to make a living. A number of home working mechanics have been offering their services on social media recently, while many will be very capable there is no requirement for them to be insured.

There have been more than a few negative remarks locally regarding bike shops “ripping people off” this is certainly not true.

We are professional bicycle mechanics, many are time served and started in their youth. Others have decided to pay themselves through qualifications or a combination of both. We have to be insured to work on your bikes. You can be safe in the knowledge that entrusting your bike to a professional bike mechanic means that in the unlikely event of there being a problem you are covered.

In closing I’d just like to thank the people that have stayed with me through this journey. Family, friends and customers. May we travel many more miles together.