Yes, we include general material on bicycle suspension, as well as a hands-on lab in which we overhaul a semi-oil bath, coil spring, oil-damped (compression and rebound) Manitou fork. The number of diverse suspension models and manufacturers precludes extensive labs, yet the specific model we overhaul has all the basic elements found in all suspension forks.
Yes, we include general material on disc brakes as well as hands-on labs installing and setting up mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes, rotor installation, and bleeding a hydraulic system. The number of diverse disc manufacturers and systems precludes us offering a wide assortment of specific models to work on, yet the models we have cover all the elements common to all disc brakes.
Guelph has the usual variety of small to mid-sized name brand motels/hotels, as well as a variety of B&B's. At least one or two students in most of our courses to date have stayed at the London House B&B and found it be quite good. Since Guelph is a university city, there is also lots of student rooming available. In addition, we have negotiated a special long-stay rate at the new Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites. This full-service hotel is located at the corner of Hwy 6
See our contact page for a GoogleMaps locator and our address. We're located in the Hanlon Industrial/Business Park at the south end of Guelph. From highway 401, take highway 6 North to the traffic lights at Laird Rd, turn right, then turn left the second time you come to Southgate Drive (Southgate is a big loop; don't turn the first time you encounter Southgate). We're about a 40 minute drive from Toronto's Pearson Airport.
There is roughly two hours of homework each evening. The first evening is the heaviest, with three to four hours. The homework includes reading and answering a set of short-answer questions in preparation for the following day's content and labs. This approach allows maximum hands-on time during class hours. The first evening is the longest since there's catch-up from the first day's material, plus prep for the second day.
Students successfully completing the course with a passing grade receive a frameable certificate from Winterborne Bicycle Institute that also bears Shimano's and Conestoga College's logos. In Canada there is currently no formal or industry-recognized trade certification process for bicycle mechanics. Accordingly, the WBI certificate is actually a "Certificate of Completion" for the course.
Students are evaluated in a multi-stage process that encourages and rewards learning through doing, and that emulates a bike shop environment as much as possible. A passing grade is 70%. During the two weeks, there are three evaluated labs worth 10% each. Each of these labs verifies that proficiency has been gained in a specific area following two or three prior hands-on labs. These evaluated labs include wheel building, shift system setup and tuning, and V-brake setup and adjustment.
There are two considerations in choosing how to dress for this course. First of all, our shop is in a poorly-insulated concrete block industrial building, and it gets cool and drafty in the winter time. Dress with a couple of warm layers, and for sure put on some warm socks. Secondly, this is a shop course and you'll be handling grease, oil, cutting fluid and so on. While our shop bikes have never been ridden, and have never been outside in the mud and dirt, it's still a shop environment. Be prepared to deal with the usual shop dirt and stains.
There have been several snow days in which local schools, including the College campus, were closed. We were open as usual. Since instructors are local, at least one of us will be available and able to run the course on any given day. Regardless of radio announcements relating to local business and school closures, assume we're open.
Class starts each morning at 8:30 a.m. sharp, usually with a review of the previous night's homework. Lunch time each day runs from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., and may be compressed if the day is running tight. Class wraps up by 5:00 p.m. each day, and often by 4:00 p.m. on the middle Saturday. There is at least one 15 minute break mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
As a service to WBI's students, our parent company, Winterborne Custom Bicycles, offers a one-time opportunity during the course to order tools, parts and accessories from any of Winterborne's suppliers, at a good discount below suggested retail prices. Home mechanics often use this opportunity to assess their needs and supplement their home tooling at a reasonable cost. It's also an opportunity to order bike parts which can be installed on the follow-up day.
WBI has six fully-tooled student workbenches and a fully-tooled instructor bench for use during classes. To help us manage our tooling inventory, we request that you do not bring your own tools to class.
In a word, "No". We provide each student with a shop copy of Barnett's Manual, 5th Edition, Volumes 1 - 4, and a shop copy of Dr. Arnie Baker's "Bit Fit", both for use during the course. We also have a full reference library including Sutherland's Handbook, manufacturer technical documentation, and distributor catalogues available for students' use during the course.
WBI has a full stable of shop bikes that are configured and maintained for the hands-on labs. Each bench has a vintage bike with simple fully-serviceable bearings, a Trek 6500 mountain bike, a Lemond Tourmalet 10-speed road bike, and a Trek Mystic juvenile bike. These bikes provide us with the full diversity of components needed for the hands-on work. In addition, we have a complete set of frames, components and wheel building parts used in specific labs. If you bring your own bike, we'll provide shop time outside class hours so you can work on it.
All shop supplies used during the course are included in your course fee. This includes all the miscellaneous bits'n'pieces such as spokes, grease, cutting fluid, cables, housing, ferrules, nitrile gloves, suspenion oil, hydraulic fluid, and so on.
Conestoga College issues a T2202 Tuition Deduction tax form for our Pro Bike Mechanics course. This is sent out from the College in February of the year following the year in which you take the course. There are three parts to a possible deduction:
1. Tuition fees. The fee for our course is paid to a recognized, accredited college in Ontario and is more than $1000. Accordingly the College issues a T2202 form.
The course cost is $1,699 Cdn, inclusive of HST. This fee is payable to Conestoga College when registering for the course. The cancellation and refund policy is the College's, and is administered by the College's registration department. The course cost includes use of all shop facilities, tooling, shop supplies, texts and bikes.
At this time, it's not clear to us that there is sufficient demand to schedule a summer course. Most of our students are shop owners and mechanics, and the summer is busy season. We have had some queries from enthusiast home mechanics, including some teachers, for a summer offering. If this is something you'd be interested in, please drop us a line and let us know. We'd be pleased to run a summer course if we could get at least 4 or 5 people.
Pro Bike Mechanics is scheduled throughout the bike shop off-season, late September to Spring. Spring sessions are usually a favourite time for enthusiast/avid home mechanics. We can also schedule a custom offering and tailor the content to any length of course you're seeking if you have a group of at least 4 or 5 people.
Familiarity with bicycles and hands-on experience in choosing and using tools for repairing stuff is definitely an asset. No specific bicycle mechanics experience is required. Those in doubt are encouraged to explore the weekend Park Tool School, also offered by WBI.