amsterdam school of bicycle mechanics

topic posted Mon, July 9, 2007 - 3:15 PM by  silvi
Hey there,

I was listening to NPR yesterday, and they were talking about the amazing bicycle culture that is in Amsterdam! One of the things that I found most interesting was that there's a school for learning bicycle mechanics in that city.

I've been searching around the internet, but haven't been able to find information about that school. I was wondering if any of you bike fanatics out there had heard about this school.

Basically, I think studying bike mechanics in Amsterdam would ROCK.

Thanks in advance,
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    Re: amsterdam school of bicycle mechanics

    Fri, July 13, 2007 - 10:24 PM
    You should realize before heading over to study, Dutch bikes (they call 'em fiets) are different beasts than American bikes. Most have just one gear -- the Netherlands is a very horizontal country -- so understanding intricacies of multi-geared bikes is a low priority. This allows gears and chains to be easily sealed in a casing to protect them from the elements. Also, Dutch bikes use a back pedal braking method rather than hand brakes -- leaves the hands entirely free for smoking shaggies, waving at your friends, playing violin, and other tricks.

    And you may learn a bit about the special mechanical needs of the bakfiets. This would actually be an innovation worth bringing with you upon returning to the States. Bakfiets are cargo bikes that typically have two wheels in the front, with a large box between the wheels for carrying very heavy items (a bed for your new squat, for example). They are almost like small trucks. These do have a hand brake, though quite a bit different than anything on an American bike -- they are used to slow down heavily weighted moving objects before they careen wildly out of control.
    • Re: amsterdam school of bicycle mechanics

      Sat, July 14, 2007 - 7:25 PM
      thanks for the good information! never having been to europe or the netherlands, i didn't even know that they standardly use a different sort of bicycle! hmm... and i *do* like gears..

      anyone know of bike mechanic schools in Canada? heehee..

      cargo bikes (trikes) are neat! my mom's roommate is working on the electric assists for these adult size cargo tricycles she and her bf are building. also i understand people can use them for hauling things around in warehouses.. and of course, bicycle rickshaws!!
      • Re: amsterdam school of bicycle mechanics

        Sun, July 15, 2007 - 10:01 AM
        hey silvi,

        most bike mechanics don't study in schools as such. i think many cities have some kind of community bike shop where people can learn mechanical skills, bit by bit. i think the best way for adults to learn mechanical skills is hands on and one-on-one in a learning centre environment. a community bike shop that recycles bikes gives volunteers and junior mechanics lots of hands-on learning under supervision, first stripping bikes then rebuilding them. the relationship between the learner and the expert is a big part of the learning, as in traditional apprenticeship learning. short courses might be taught, following more of a school style, for beginner-level learning about maintaining your own ride.

        many also upgrade their skills by referring to books.

        retro-trendy dutch bikes are now being sold here in vancouver. i thought new york was the real new amsterdam, and you dont have dutch bikes there?

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