FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Do you Service and Repair Bikes?
Yes, we do. That’s the question we seem to get asked most frequently. Maybe it’s because that, from what some of our customers tell us, there are retailers selling bikes who don’t offer an after sales service.

Walkers Cycling service and repair most makes of cycle – whether or not it was bought from us. We can also carry out bike upgrades to your specification. See our Repairs & Servicing page for full details and costs of our workshop services.

Here are some of the other questions we get asked about bikes and cycling:-

Reasons to Cycle
Q. How can cycling save me money?
Q. How can cycling make me healthier?
Q. How can cycling help the environment?

Buying a Bike
Q. Do You Sell Children’s Bikes?
Q. I can buy a cheap bike from the supermarket / catalogue / shopping channel / toy shop – why should I pay more?
Q. How can I spread the cost of my new bike?
Q. Can I trade-in my old bike?
Q. I have found the same bike cheaper online/locally. Will you refund the difference?
Q. I have chosen my new bike – what accessories should I consider?

Q. Can you custom build a bike for me?
Q. Do you offer extended warranties on new bikes?

How Does that Work?
Q. Quick Release Wheels
Q. Tyre Valves
Q. Tyre and Tube Sizing

Riding a Bike
Q. I am not happy cycling in traffic! Where can I ride my bike?
Q. What tools should I carry on a ride?
Q. How can I mend a puncture when I’m out on a ride?
Q. How can I make my cycling more comfortable?
Q. I am really getting into cycling – how can I find a local cycling club?

Maintaining and Servicing a Bike
Q. How much will it cost to service and maintain my bike?
Q. How often should my bike be serviced?
Q. Do I need to book my bike in for a service?
Q. Where can I learn to service and repair my bike?


FAQ: Reasons to Cycle

How can cycling save me money?

• A bike doesn’t need road tax or an MOT test and, best of all, doesn’t need regular visits to the petrol pumps.
• A bike can be parked almost anywhere – no more expensive car parking charges.
• A good quality bike costs around £50 a year to maintain – a little less if you do the servicing work yourself – a bit more if you are a high mileage rider. Properly maintained, the bike will give reliable service for many years. Typically, the average family car needs £273 worth of maintenance per year * not including other ongoing running costs such as depreciation, tax, insurance and breakdown cover which can bring the annual cost of running the car to £5,627.

* RAC Direct Insurance 2007 Cost of Motoring Index

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How can cycling make me healthier?

• Cycling is an inherently healthy activity whether you are a round the world adventurer or just a ‘pop-to-the shops’ rider. Regular cycling improves your fitness level and can make a significant contribution to a healthy lifestyle.
• Cycling helps you to maintain a healthy weight; your strength, stamina, aerobic fitness and general muscle function will all be improved.
• Your heart muscles are strengthened, resting pulse is lowered and blood fat levels are reduced. People taking regular physical activity suffer far less heart disease than people who don’t.
• Cycling can help you to burn body fat and raise your metabolic rate which can help you to lose weight. If you cycle regularly you can enjoy a more varied diet without piling the pounds on!
• Cycling is one of the more comfortable types of exercise and many people find it allows them to get fit easily and safely because cycling is a low impact activity which reduces the risk of over-exertion or strain to muscles and joints.
• Anxiety, stress and depression can all be helped, in part due to the cycling itself, but also owing to the enjoyment and satisfaction of riding a bike.

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How can cycling help the environment?

• The manufacture of a bicycle requires only a fraction of the materials and energy needed to make a car.
• Cars kill and injure thousands of road users in the UK each year – bicycles don’t.
• Around 50% of all car journeys in the UK are under five miles. Using a bike for short journeys instead of the car, benefits your community by reducing the noise and air pollution associated with traffic congestion. Cycling is ideal for short journeys and is often quicker around town than other types of transport.
• A cold car engine uses almost twice as much fuel. Its catalytic converter can take up to five miles to attain optimal efficiency. Visit the Energy Saving Trust website for more advice about using the car less.

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FAQ: Buying a Bike

Do you sell children’s bikes?

Yes, we stock children’s cycles in wheel sizes 14” to 24”. For younger kids we stock run-a-long training bikes which come without pedals to help master the skill of balancing. For older kids / younger teenagers, we have a selection of adult bikes in small frame sizes. Some manufacturers are now offering smaller race bikes in child friendly sizes for the younger competitor.

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I can buy a cheap bike from the supermarket / catalogue / shopping channel / toy shop – why should I pay more?

The ‘bargain’ bike may turn out to be what’s known in the trade as a Bicycle Shaped Object – or BSO – a cheap, poor quality bicycle. Generally these bikes are supplied in boxes to be assembled by the owner, or taken to a “proper bike shop” to be built-up.

One of the main reasons to avoid a BSO is because it will not offer you a particularly enjoyable cycling experience. Mechanical problems or safety issues – and the costs associated with fixing them – ultimately spoil the pleasure of riding your bike. Gears that don’t work properly, uncomfortable saddles and constant unseen rattles and shakes lead to a very frustrating time on your bike.

Wheels are often the first casualty on cheap bikes. If they’re warped, brake blocks will rub on the rims and slow you down. Good quality, lightweight wheels make the biggest difference to the performance of a bike – not only will they help you go faster for less effort, they are more likely to stay round and be stronger than cheaper wheels. The wheel bearings also affect performance. Try lifting the front of a bike and spinning the front wheel – the sooner it slows down, the more effort will be required to ride the bike.

For further details about the pitfalls of buying a BSO visit The Cycling Experts website.

Matt Seaton’s article on the Guardian newspaper site is also an entertaining and informative take on the perils of the BSO.

Top Tip: For the bicycle buyer on a tight budget, it may make better sense to buy a good quality second hand bike rather than a cheap, poor quality BSO.

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How can I spread the cost of my new bike?

Walkers Cycling can arrange interest-free finance – over a 6 month payment period for bikes costing £500 or more; 12 months for bikes costing £1,000 or more, subject to eligibility. Terms and conditions apply. Contact Us for further details.

If your employer participates in Cyclescheme, or one of the other cycle to work schemes, you can get a tax free bike for work and pay monthly through your salary.

Our Christmas Club is available from September to December each year to help you budget for those all-important Santa bikes.

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Can I trade-in my old bike?

We have a Trade-in Voucher scheme where a customer buying a new bike can exchange their old bike for a voucher up to £25 in value that can be redeemed against parts and accessories purchases for the new cycle. See our Terms & Conditions page for full details.

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I have found the same bike cheaper online/locally. Will you refund the difference?

No, we don’t offer a price matching service. All our new bikes are sold at a fair price that reflects the the level of service we provide. Before purchasing your new cycle from another retailer you may wish to compare their service against ours:

  • Personal attention by experienced staff who will help you choose the right bike.
  • Test ride the bike of your choice before deciding.
  • Every new bike is fully assembled and gets a 21 point adjustment and safety check before leaving the shop.
  • Every new bike qualifies for free servicing. *
  • Every new bike comes with one or two money-off vouchers for parts and accessories which can be redeemed when the bike comes in for its free service/s. *
  • Free Basic Bike Care brochure with every new bike.
  • Parts & accessories voucher when you trade-in your old bike against a new bike. *
  • After sales care – service and repairs for your bike by Weldtech Platinum qualified cycle mechanics.

A ‘cheap’ bike bought from a retailer who can’t match our level of customer service may not be such a bargain after all.

* See our Terms & Conditions page for full details.

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I have chosen my new bike – what accessories should I consider?

Every rider should consider carrying a basic tool kit – see ‘What tools should I carry on a ride?’ below.

It’s usually better to carry loads on the bike rather than on the rider so for carrying your shopping, luggage etc we have a range of carrier racks, panniers, rack packs, seat packs and for those really big loads we can even supply a suitable trailer.

Good lights are essential, and a legal requirement, for riding after dark.

For the commuter, mudguards help combat the worst of the British weather helping you to arrive at work without looking like the proverbial drowned rodent.

A prop stand can aid parking while you’re at the corner shop and a good quality lock prevents the light-fingered brigade from making off with it while you’re in there. For further ideas see our Parts & Accessories page.

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Can you custom build a bike for me?

Yes, we offer a custom bike building service where we can build a bike to your specification or to a specification agreed between you and one of our qualified advisers. See our Repairs & Servicing page for details of current custom build charges.

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Do you offer extended warranties on new bikes?

No, we don’t believe that extended warranties represent good value for our customers. We only sell good quality, well-constructed bikes by reputable manufacturers which, in normal use and with regular maintenance, should provide the owner with years of reliable service. In the unlikely event of a manufacturing defect your statutory consumer rights and the manufacturer’s standard warranty should provide all the protection you require.

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FAQ: How Does that Work?

Quick Release Wheels

Many modern bikes come with Quick Release, or QR, wheels. As the name suggests these provide a quick and easy means of removing one or both wheels from the bicycle frame – no spanner required. Ideal for speedy puncture repairs or getting the bike in the back of the car. The method of removal/installation varies depending on whether the bike has rim or disc brakes.

Any customer purchasing a new bike from Walkers Cycling will be given a QR wheel demonstration on request when taking delivery of their bike. Or, you can visit the BikeRadar website to view their ‘How to Remove and Install Wheels with Quick Release’ video.

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Tyre Valves

The inner tubes on most modern bicycles are fitted with one of two common valve types – Schraeder or Presta. The Schraeder valve is 28 or 40mm long and is similar to the valve found on a car tyre. The Presta valve is narrower with a small screw nut on the end and comes in a variety of lengths between 40mm and 80mm.

Some older bikes may have tubes fitted with a Woods valve, also known as a Dunlop valve, which has an easily removable valve core. The method of inflation/deflation varies slightly with each type of valve. When buying a replacement tube, a pump or a pump adaptor it is important that you purchase the correct type to suit the valves on your tyres.Any customer purchasing a new bike from Walkers Cycling will be given a tyre valve demonstration on request when taking delivery of their bike. Or, you can visit the Weldtite website to view their Value Your Valves Video.

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Tyre and Tube Sizing

When purchasing new tyres or tubes it is important to know the size and type you require – there is a surprisingly large variety available. Bicycle tyre sizes are marked on the side wall according to ETRTO European standard. However, older English and French tyre sizes are also used. Tubes are usually, but not always, similarly marked. So, what do you need to look for?

For example, a 700 x 35c road bike tyre will have any combination of the following size markings:

37-622
28 x 1.40
700 x 35C

and an example of a 26 inch mountain bike tube:

26 x 1.9/2.2125

Quoting any of these dimensions will help us to supply with the correct product. In the case of tubes we’ll also need to know which type of valve is required (see Tyre Valves above) If in doubt – bring your old tyre or tube to the shop and we’ll work out what size you require.

Top Tip: Keep the end flap off your new inner tube’s carton for reference and take it with you to the bike shop when purchasing replacement tubes.

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FAQ: Riding a Bike

I am not happy cycling in traffic! Where can I ride my bike?

Not everyone feels confident enough to ride on busy roads but there is a growing number of dedicated cycle tracks and trails in south west Scotland, and throughout the UK, where you can enjoy riding away from the noise and pollution of motor traffic. It’s still possible to find quiet roads in many parts of Scotland where cycling is a pleasure.

Mountain biking and off-road cycling is particularly well-catered for in south west Scotland with facilities such as the Seven Stanes trails and Drumlanrig Country Park providing routes suitable for every ability. See our Leisure Cycling Information page for details of routes in Ayrshire, Galloway and beyond.

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What tools should I carry on a ride?

A properly maintained bike should give little trouble in use but punctures are a fact of life and even a well looked after bike will need running repairs occasionally.

We recommend that you carry a pump, spare tube, tyre levers, puncture repair outfit and a multi-tool. A basic multi-tool contains the most popular sizes of allen key and screwdriver. Spending a little more will get you a more comprehensive get-me-home multi tool with the addition of items such as a chain splitter and torx keys.

Visit the Weldtite website to view their Basic Bicycle Tool Kit Video.

Top Tip: Always carry a fully charged mobile phone with you on rides – if roadside repairs fail you can ‘phone a friend’ for a lift!

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How can I mend a puncture when I am out on a ride?

Fiddling around with glue and patches at the roadside can be a hassle – especially in darkness or bad weather – so we recommend that you carry a spare inner tube on every ride. Changing a punctured tube gets you back on the road in minutes; when you get home you can take your time to patch the punctured tube and then use it as a spare.

On long rides, or if you’re going to be riding where punctures are more likely, you may want to carry two or more spare tubes. Of course you should always carry a puncture repair outfit as ‘back up’.

Top Tip: To help avoid punctures, keep your tyres inflated to the recommended pressure indicated on the sidewall and, when riding, keep a look out for glass, thorns or other nasties on the road ahead.

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How can I make my cycling more comfortable?

The first requirement for comfortable cycling is a bike which is the correct size for you and which has been set up properly for you. If you purchased your bike from a reputable, independent bicycle dealer then that will have been taken care of.

The next thing to consider is shoes and clothing. It’s your hands, feet and bottom which come into contact with the bike so it makes sense to wear cycling specific shoes, gloves and shorts, leggings or trousers.

Cycling shoes have stiffer soles than normal footwear which, in addition to being more comfy, help maximise your pedaling effort. Shorts, leggings or trousers with integral padding will help avoid saddle soreness. A cheap, poor quality saddle rarely offers much in the way of comfort so, if yours isn’t doing the job, an anatomically designed saddle – perhaps with gel inserts – may put the pleasure back in your bike rides.

Walkers Cycling has a good selection of clothing and shoes to suit most types of riding in stock.

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I am really getting into cycling – how can I find a local cycling club?Club membership opens up opportunities to get help, advice and support from like minded riders. The national cycling bodies – British Cycling and the CTC – maintain lists of affiliated clubs.

Walkers Cycling Club is an Ayrshire based club that aims to encourage participation in all types of leisure and competitive cycling.

Top Tip: ‘Try before you Buy’. Many clubs are happy to have prospective members along on a few club rides to see if the club is suitable for them before signing-up.

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FAQ: Maintaining and Servicing a Bike

How much will it cost to service and maintain my bike?

Based on Walkers Cycling’s workshop charges (as current at October 2009 – see our Repairs & Servicing page to check current prices) servicing starts at £20 for a single geared bike. Geared bikes charges are £40 for a basic Bronze service rising to £85 for our Gold service – essentially a major overhaul which should have your bike riding like new again.

Your first year’s servicing could be free! Every new adult bike purchased from Walkers Cycling qualifies for free servicing. *

See our Repairs & Servicing page for full costs of our workshop services.

* See our Terms & Conditions page for full details.

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How often should my bike be serviced?

A basic service carried out every six months provides peace of mind and gives early warning of any parts which are due for repair or replacement. Overall mileage and the conditions in which the bike has been ridden will determine how often a more comprehensive service will be required. High mileage bikes or those ridden in more extreme conditions, e.g. mud, grit, salty winter roads etc, will require more frequent servicing.

By carrying out basic, routine maintenance yourself you can prolong the life of your bike and reduce expense at service time. Our easy to follow Basic Bike Care guide is available to buy from our shop and is provided free, on request, with every new bike purchased from Walkers Cycling.

For the DIY mechanic we also run cycle maintenance classes – see ‘Where can I learn to service and repair my bike?’ below.

See our Repairs & Servicing page for full details and costs of our workshop services.

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Do I need to book my bike in for a service?

Booking is not required but a bike brought in for repairs or servicing without a prior booking may take a little longer to complete as advance bookings take priority in the workshop schedule. Contact Us to make a service booking or you may find it convenient to use our online booking form.

Top Tip: Time your major, annual service for the winter months when our workshop is generally quieter and we may be able to offer a quicker turnaround.

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Where can I learn to service and repair my bike?

There are books on bicycle maintenance but by far the best way to learn is by taking a practical, hands-on bike maintenance course where a qualified cycle mechanic will show you how to look after your bike/s. Walkers Cycling offers Basic and Advanced Cycle Maintenance courses. See our Bike Maintenance Courses page for details.

For routine, basic maintenance the Walkers Cycling ‘Basic Bike Care’ booklet is available to purchase at our Kilmaurs shop.

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What can we do for you? If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, please contact us.