Bicycles are an exciting way to travel and if you’re like me, you want to jump on straight away and start pedalling around like you’re the King of the street. However, like most things in life, your two wheeler isn’t invincible. If left unmaintained, the components of the frame will begin to wear down and over time it will perform inefficiently. For your own safety (and the ones around you) it’s essential to perform general maintenance practices on your bike. Here’s some tips to get you started on your journey to become a cycle expert.
Assessing your tires
This is one you need to be doing every week, or month, depending on how often you ride. Assessing your tires basically includes evaluating how much air is in them and pumping them up accordingly. It’s also important to check for tears or hole in the tires. Tip: Small bits of metal and glass can wedge themselves into the rubber which gradually leads to a flat tyre.
Assessing the deterioration of your brakes
A common issue that people tend to ignore is how well the brakes actually work. You’d be surprised that most people will settle for stopping the bike themselves once it gets to a slow speed. To gage the efficiency of your brakes is simple to do and even easier to fix. Just squeeze your brake levers and ensure your bike comes to a complete stop without fraying or stretching the cables. The next thing to check is the actual brake pads. Your brake pads are rubber clamps attached to your rims that decrease the speed of the bike when you clutch the levers. To calculate, simply squeeze down on the levers again and make sure they are hitting the rims evenly.
Lubricating your bike
The parts of your bike that move are vulnerable to rust and corrosion. Lubrication protects these parts from excessive wear, stops them from stiffening and keeps rust from damaging the exposed metal. While lubricating is valuable for increasing the performance level of your cycle, over-lubricating it can lead to component damage. It’s important to know the difference and make sure you wipe away excess lube before the bicycle is used again. The parts of your bike that should be greased is the chain, bolts, pivot points on the breaks, derailleur assemblies, brake and derailleur cables, and pedals.
When to take it to a bike specialist?
Not all of us are mechanical geniuses. To me, a manual looks like map that navigates the user through a very large, extremely dense forest. If you ride more than once a week, you should be taking your bike into a specialist like 99 Bikes at least once or twice a year. They will likely do a general maintenance, check the durability of the breaks and gears, and fix any major problems without the price tag of a car service.
Got any tips on how to maintain your bike? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.
Written by Dave Buckle