Whether you ride on or off-road, it’s more than likely that you will have come-a-cropper at some point with an issue on your bike.
Now, of course, it goes without saying that some issues are completely unpredictable and no matter how well you maintain your bike, you might always end up having to deal with some out-of-the-blue emergency situation. I frequently talk with those who love to ride and am always shocked when some people tell me how much, or should I say how little, they routinely perform maintenance on their bike.
Bostin’ Ride is delighted to welcome our event mechanic who goes by the name of ‘Bike Mechanic Mark.’ He will be on hand before the start of our Sportives to support all participants who might need advice or assistance before the race begins.
In this post, we are going to share a few pearls of wisdom with you about bike maintenance and give you some tips to make sure you keep your bike in tip-top condition, all year long.
Tips for Maintaining Your Bike
If you follow the tips outlined in this post, you can help to prolong the lifetime of your cycle, your gears, and make sure you prevent unavoidable delays or even injuries when out on your rides.
Keep Your Tools Close By
Ok, so this isn’t a tip, more of a friendly piece of advice from someone who ‘has been there and done that’ before. Loaning out your bike tools is a nice thing to do. But, realizing your friend never gave you that tool back when you are already out and in need of it is a gut-wrenching feeling. So always make sure you check your tools before you leave and make sure you get your tools back! Better still, invite your friend round, and you can talk bikes while they fix their bike at your place.
A Clean Bike is a Happy Bike
This is not some after-ride ritual that bike lovers do because they enjoy cleaning. Cleaning your bike is actually one of the best things you can do to prolong its life. Soapy water is all that is needed, but if you can add in some degreaser, that will also come in super-handy to help break down the dirt that can get caught up in the most obscure places. A toothbrush is a great ‘tool’ to use to help you get into the hard to reach places such as the gear sprockets and the chain.
Another important tip is to check your brake pads and don’t leave things to chance. A good rule of thumb to follow, if you can’t see the grooves, then you need to make a move. If you haven’t fitted new brake pads yourself, you can easily Google how to do it for yourself, or you can get your local bike shop or a cycling buddy to help you do it. The only tools required are Allen keys. Another point I would like to make about the brakes is to do with the noise they make when you use them. If they squeak, there is dirt that will need to be removed. If you clean and dry them off and you are still getting that squeaky noise, then it is likely they will need a little tweaking. My final point on the brakes is even more important than the previous two. If your brakes have become slow to respond, or you can squeeze your brake handle towards the handlebars and they are getting to the half-way point, then it’s time to tighten them up. Another task that only requires the assistance of the Allen keys.
I don’t need to go on about just how important it is to make sure your brakes are in top working order, do I?
Making sure your tyres are properly inflated each and every time you leave for a ride is essential. If you’re using a hand-pump, then the best advice I can give you is to get rid of it immediately. Ok, maybe you don’t need to get rid of it entirely, you can keep it as a spare or carry it with you as you ride but a stand-up track pump that has a proper pressure gauge on it will be a sound investment. Always check your tyres for their individual specification, one size does not fit all! You can tweak your tyre pressures for particular weather conditions or road surfaces, but for most circumstances the manufacturers advised pressures will be fine.
This is something that many roadies do for themselves. However, there is no shame at all in getting professional help from your local bike shop to do your servicing. They are experts and do this A LOT more than any individual cyclist would. As to how frequently you get your bike serviced, well, this depends on just how much you ride. However, once a year is generally ok, twice a year for some who hit it hard in all-weather conditions. Think of it as an MOT on your car; it is an absolute must.
Lube – Lots of Lube
You absolutely need to have this in your life. Make sure you purchase bike-specific lube and generally, wherever metal touches metal on your bike is where you need to apply this, but sparingly. Always make sure you’ve cleaned your bike first as applying lube to a dirty chain is of no use whatsoever.
Invest in Latex
The final point here isn’t going to help you maintain your bike any better or worse, but it will help your hands during and after you perform any maintenance on your bike. Bike Oil is a mare to get off your hands. Buy some cheap latex gloves and always keep them handy at home and in your saddle bag.
Of course, wear and tear will always take its toll, but there are a few tips here that will help you to get the most out of your bike.
If you have any tips to share with our community about maintaining your bike, then get involved and drop a comment below this post!