Bike maintenance – an essential service?

Apr 10, 2020
Bike maintenance – an essential service?

Bike Auckland

Lockdown isn’t an easy ride, and everyone is rightly making a serious concerted effort to stay local and stay home as much as possible. Under these conditions, the humble bicycle is emerging from sheds and garages as a tool for local exercise, shopping runs, and essential commutes. People are venturing out into the stress-free streets, brushing up on bike skills, and enjoying exploring their neighbourhoods at the micro-scale.

So you’ll have likely seen a blossoming of bike riders in your part of town: slow rollers heading to the local shops for necessaries; families desperate for some fresh air; fit folk going round and round the block; essential workers like doctors headed off for their shifts; and new and newly-dusted-off riders rediscovering cycling on quieter streets. It’s a gentle revolution, and a bit of a revelation.

While there is no officially specified distance to ensure you stay local on a bike, a good rule of thumb is: could you walk your bike home if you got a flat tire or ran into mechanical issues? And of course, whether you’re riding local or relying on your bike for essential work and transport, keeping your bike in good working condition will be top of mind.

UPDATE Thursday 23 April:

Under Level 3, from Tuesday 28 April bike shops will be able to return to:

  • doing workshop repairs (contactless and by appointment),
  • and contactless click-and-collect or online delivery of goods and parts.

Note that the shops themselves won’t be open to the public. Please check directly with each bike shop, to be sure of the conditions they’re operating under and how they’re able to help you. 

How to check your bike’s in good working order

This handy page from Waka Kotahi/ NZTA has a really good basic overview on how to give your bike the once-over.

Especially if you haven’t ridden your bike in a while, you’ll definitely want to check the tires, the brakes, and the seat height, for safety and comfort.

So what happens if your bicycle needs attention?

Under Level 4 rules, the only bicycle repair/service permitted is repairs to bicycles of essential workers, when a bicycle is the transport to that essential job.

Some bicycle shops like Electric Bike Team are continuing to fix e-bikes for a very specific subset of people: existing customers who are also essential workers and who use their e-bikes to get to those jobs. They posted a great video on their FB page about how they’ve been handling contactless repair. (They also have a post-shutdown online-only sale running, for anyone who’s keen to order an e-bike now and wait for delivery as soon as it’s safe.) Update: see EBT’s Level 3 information here.

Flying Fix the mobile bike mechanic has also got the nod from MBIE to service the bikes of essential workers who rely on them for transport to work. If that’s you, you can use this booking form to request a contactless service.

How to order parts to fix your own bike

Essential repair doesn’t cover bicycles used for recreation/exercise or for general transport. But the good news is that the government’s list of essential goods has recently been expanded to include spare parts for bicycles. Below is a list of places you can now order necessary bits and pieces for DIY repairs.

Note: All sales are online only; no bike shops are permitted to be open to the public. In each case, we would recommend checking and double-checking that the item you are about to order is on the essential list (most sites clearly indicate that) and can be sent out (inner tubes, yes! bicycle baskets, no!).

Also, especially if it’s a smaller outfit, we recommend getting in touch via a phone call or an email before you make an order.

Drop us a line if you know of any other suppliers who are operating at this time so we can add them to the list..

Bike Barn
“We are now able to deliver orders for products deemed essential, to support our essential workers with transport.”

Cycle Xpress, Howick
“For Emergencies only please…. Please send a message if you need something urgent.”

Evo Cycles
“We are now able to deliver essential products for home based bike maintenance and provide essential workers with transport.”

Kiwi Velo
“You can now buy essential supplies from Kiwivelo through our online store or via phone orders (09 489 5494 – 0800 KIWIVELO)”

MEC Bikes
“You can now buy essential supplies from MEC Bikes via our online store or by contacting us directly… Any questions please contact us on or call 09 630-1201”

My Ride
“Only specified essential items on the nominated essentials page will be shipped during this lockdown period.”

Rouleur Cycles, Onehunga
“You can now buy essential supplies from Rouleur Cycles through our online store ( or payment via phone orders (09 6222 088)”

Bikes and Barbers
They are doing some repairs to bikes and some online orders. Best to look at the Covid FAQs on their site or text them on 027 5326352.

“We’re only able to deliver selected bike parts and accessories that have been approved as essential by the MBIE at this stage.”

Looks like you tick the “Covid Level 4” box to show items deemed essential and currently able to be sent by the trader.

The Urban Cyclist
“We’re currently able to send out certain items to essential workers, such as lights, locks and helmets. Please contact us by email to check first. All non-essential items will be sent once lockdown ends; however I am offering 15% off storewide (including for essential purchases) with the code ICANWAIT.”

The Bike Maintenance Shop
“Contactless bicycle repairs for essential workers. Call or email us, leave a message, and we will call you back. 098185448 or 0211285546″

So you get your spare part – then what?

If you get a spare part to repair your bicycle and are keen to have a go, there’s lots of help online for simple stuff like changing a tyre or patch-repairing a puncture. YouTube has heaps of step-by-step instructions. Here’s a local one, And an international one.

The local bike hubs/bike kitchens are not open, but might be able to talk you through simple fixes. You can contact them via their Facebook pages: Ecomatters Bike Hubs and Roskill Bike Kitchen.

And your amazing community “Bike Burb” groups should also be able to give friendly advice. They’re are a great way to connect with bike-minded people in your neighbourhood, not just in times of crisis but in ordinary everyday times too! Find your local group(s) here.

Stay safe, stay local!




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