I would ask a few bike shops if a mechanic would be willing to let you watch and walk you through some of the repairs he was doing. i did this all the time when I worked at a shop in San Antonio and I plan to do it again at my up-coming job here in ATL, probably starting this week. I find that self-sufficient customers might not bring their bikes in all the time to pay us to do repairs, but they will buy tools and more parts from us and patronize the shop that kindly helps them learn to fix their own stuff and keep riding. if your local shop has no time at all to teach you some stuff now and then, you probably don't have time to shop there.
Thanks folks for responses. I will look into REI. Local LBS shops arent very friendly unfortunately. Yes I am definately going to learn one way or the other though. I heard Park Tool sponsors seminars at some places. I will look into those.
I dont know why most LBS are so unfriendly. I have spent so much money at my fav LBS, mostly because they are nice to people ...well they also have good stuff at decent prices, but I wouldnt shop there if they were jerks.
The reason I ask is because lots of LBS's have a park tool or otherwise sponsored series of weekend classes. I know that one in my area does for sure, I wouldn't be surprised if others did too.
I'm also asking because you really shouldn't be going to an LBS and spending your hard earned coin if you don't like the place IMO. If you live anywhere near a big city, there are probably a few more LBS's within an hour or so drive.
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