Ways to Take Care of Your Bike
By Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Paul Seaburn
A bicycle is one of the most beautiful machines ever created – simple yet efficient.
Because most of us have owned and ridden one since we were kids, we tend to overlook their care and maintenance as if they were toy bikes rather than machines. Don’t make this mistake with any bike, regardless of its cost or purpose. These ten tips to take care of your bike will keep it running longer and keep you safe when riding.
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10. Keep the bike clean
Washing your bike before every ride not only shows you care for your ride, it allows you to do a once-over on all of the mechanical parts that might need adjusting or lubrication. Use a good quality soap, keep rinse water away from wheel bearings and cranks and wipe the bike frame and parts completely dry before riding.
9. Check The Tires
Just like on a car, soft bicycle tires on a bike reduce mileage per pedal, reduce your control of the bike, wear out faster and are more prone to flats. Check the pressure before every ride and keep your tires inflated midway between the two numbers on the side.
8. Tighten up
Riding a bike naturally loosens bolts and screws, so it’s a good idea to tighten them before your next ride with the proper bike tools. Over-tightening can also cause problems so make sure you can loosen the bolts and screws as well. Listen while you ride for squeaks and watch for wobbles that can indicate a loose connection.
7. Clean the brakes and rims
Brakes and rims work together to stop your bike and dirt on either one can lengthen stopping time and damage the rims. Use alcohol on a cloth to clean the pads, soap on a cloth to clean the rims. Inspect the pads for wear or and adjust or replace if needed.
6. Check and clean the cables
Dirty brake and derailleur cables reduces their efficiency. Wipe them with a cloth and alcohol before each ride. Check the tension and adjust if needed.
5. Lube the levers
Each brake and derailleur cable has a lever to engage it. Squeeze them to check tension and to listen for squeaks. Apply a drop or two of oil to the pivots if needed.
4. Check the wheel bearings
Lift the wheel off the ground and spin it. It should spin freely and come to a smooth stop. Feel the wheel as it moves and if it feels rough or wobbly, take it to a shop to have the wheel bearings checked and lubricated.
3. Check the steering
The headset bearings control your handlebars movement. Squeeze the front brake and rock the bike to see if the frame fork neck is loose and adjust accordingly. With the wheel off the ground, turn the handlebar. If it feels rough or tight, take it for service.
2. Clean the derailleur
Use a toothbrush to clean dirt out of the nooks and crannies of the derailleur. With the chain off the wheels, make sure the little wheel that runs the chain spins freely – clean if it doesn’t. Use a little chain lubricant to oil the derailleur parts.
1. Clean and lubricate the chain
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It’s the most important part of your bike to treat your chain well. For a quick clean and lube, wipe the chain with a cloth soaked in degreaser, apply the chain lubricant recommended for your bike and wipe off the excess. Periodically, remove the chain, let it soak in degreaser, install and lubricate.
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