Help with a puncture: It's Bicycle Repair Man!

Then you will participate in the most beautiful musical bicycle tour in the Netherlands, and yes. Puncture. Fortunately, rescue is at hand. The SummerJazzCyclingTour once again presents: Bicycle Repair Man!

Unfortunately, those who don't know Bicycle Repair Man were born too late. It is an invention of the English absurdist company Monty Python. (The link is at the bottom of this story.) Martin Been (59) from Winschoten grew up with the Pythons. The sketches were broadcast on the VPRO Sunday evening.  

Other times, indeed. Back when people weren't confused when their name was mispronounced. “I was working with another Martin at the time. My boss found that confusing. He pointed to my colleague and said: ‘you are Martin’. And then he pointed at me. ‘And then your name is now Motorblok’.

That is how Martin is still called by friends. Martin Engine block. Or Bicycle Repair Man. On Saturday, August 26.

Martin joined the ZomerJazzCyclingTour about fifteen years ago. Via programmer Marcel Roelofs, whom he knew from the Grand Theater in the city of Groningen. Martin was then a set builder. He hammered together sets, including for Bert Visscher. “I think the ZJFT is the best job of the year", he says. “I think I have changed around a hundred tires in all that time. I didn't have to do anything for one edition. That was bizarre. That was the year after corona. People had invested in new bicycles. You really noticed that.”

Martin doesn't patch the tyres, he changes the inner tube. Gluing takes longer, and you never know if there will be another hole in the tape. He wants to be ready for the next breakdown. And also in this respect time has changed. “You have a lot more smaller cycle routes these days. They are beautiful, but I can't get everywhere with my van anymore. It is puzzling to find the shortest route. That always works, but sometimes I'm on the road a bit longer.”

Other times. Also in the field of cycling. They used to be called steel steed, and not for nothing. They were bulky, strong, with a steel frame and were relatively simple to put together. That is now a bit different. Some bicycles cost thousands of euros and are running computers. “If I have to change a rear tyre, that can be quite a challenge. You have to be careful with some frames these days, they are made of aluminum and much more fragile. You then see an owner looking at me, like ‘will this be ok?’. Well, usually I can figure it out. But I've also had to throw a bike in the van when the software gets confused because you have to change a rear tire. The computer then goes crazy, the manufacturer has to fix that.”

It's not just about patching tires. Sometimes he has to adjust a saddle or get a crooked pedal back in line. He has the whole bus full of tools. On the day before the SummerJazzCyclingTour, he collects everything in his workshop, where he also restores old-timers in addition to bicycles. He tackles everything, as long as the bikes or motorcycles have something special. And being old. There must be a challenge, Martin thinks.

In addition to good tools, good preparation is important. For example, Martin looks at all cycling routes and determines in advance at which point he will park his van: somewhere in the middle of the routes so that he can quickly turn out. Like other supermen's work, Bicycle Repair Man works for free. “An inner tube is paid for by the organization. People look surprised when they hear that everything is free. A month after the ZJFT ended, I once received a message from an elderly woman I had helped. That she was so happy with my help. See, that's what you do it for.”


Visiting a performance is not an option for Martin. He drives from breakdown to breakdown. Yet there are times when he can literally put his ear to listen. “People often notice that they have a flat tire when they arrive at a location. I then get to work on my bike while people attend a concert. When I'm done and there's no other breakdown, I stand in the doorway and get a nice piece of music. I never walk in, I always have to be able to pick up the phone immediately.”

And if he gets the chance, which jazz does he prefer to listen to? “I really like Dixieland. And the Klezmer Band for example.” But to be honest, he won't join the bike tour any time soon. “I never cycle”, Martin laughs. “I live in the center of Winschoten myself, so I walk a lot. And I'm also often on the motorcycle.”

Before you participate in the ZomerJazzCyclingTour, check your bike carefully, Martin says. The outer tire in particular must be in good condition. Keep in mind that it can be quite tiring in a strong headwind. Bring a poncho. Enough wind in the tires. And water, because it can be hot. The mobile number of Bicycle Repair Man can be found in the program booklet.

If you're lucky, you won't run into Bicycle Repair Man. Do you still want to see him in the flesh on Saturday 26 August: there is a good chance that he will be in Ezinge at eight o'clock, when the work is done. In café De Brug. Grab a bite to eat after work. “I'm looking forward to it!”

Bicycle Repairman - Monty Python's The Flying Circus - video Dailymotion