Basic Bike Maintenance You Should Know

If you haven’t had a chance yet, this is the perfect time to strap on your helmet and hit the clear bike paths. If your bike has seen better days and needs a quick tune-up, here are a few tricks that will save you money and will have your bike ready for the summer months.

  • Keep your drivetrain clean and lubricated. The last thing you want to hear is a constant squeaking and rattling while you ride along the river. If your chain isn’t lubricated, the metal links will rub against each other and will significantly shorten the life expectancy of a fairly expensive bike part. All you need is a disposable rag, bike oil and a degreasing product. Get all the dirt you can off the chain, then slowly turn the cranks backwards while adding drops of bike oil to the inside of each chain link.
  • Keep your tires inflated. On the tire itself, it will tell you the proper pressure to keep them at. By making sure they’re fully inflated, your ride will be much smoother and will prevent your rims from bending under the weight of the person riding. Make sure you check the pressure at least once every two weeks.
  • Keep all the nuts and bolts tight, but not too tight. When you give your bike a quick look over to make sure you don’t have any loose screws, give them all a little turn to make sure they’re snug. Don’t worry about turning them until they can’t turn them anymore, that won’t accomplish anything. If you find a missing screw, head to your local bike shop and ask for a handful of them. Odds are they’ll give you some for free because they’re dirt cheap.
  • Just like in your car, brakes are super important. Keep an eye on your brake pads to make sure they actually touch the rim when you pull the lever. If they don’t, tighten the screws on the brake arm end until they touch when you squeeze the brakes. Alternatively, make sure they aren’t touching when you’re not squeezing the lever. You don’t want to wear through the pads just by riding.
  • Flat tires happen. Fixing or replacing the tube is super simple. Youtube has tons of how-to videos to help if need be. Just make sure you have some plastic tire levers to pry the tire off the wheel. Before putting in the new tube, feel around the edge of the wheel to make sure there are no sharp objects poking in that could pop your new tube. It’ll take some practice, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll only take a few minutes.

Some of these tips seem easier than others, but like anything, practice makes perfect. If these tips seem too far out of your comfort zone, your local bike shop can help you out for a small fee.

Happy Bicycle Day!

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