Riding a bike is a fantastic way of getting regular exercise, seeing the world, and making your daily commute to work. However, as you may know, bikes are prone to a range of issues if they’re not maintained properly. Luckily, you can do most of your bike maintenance from the safety of your home with some basic equipment and know-how. Throughout this article, we will cover everything from how to clean a bike chain to keeping your brakes on the go.
Keep It Clean
This is one of the most basic maintenance jobs you can do to get the most out of your bike. Cleaning your bike regularly will help protect it from rust, corrosion, and will stop any build-ups of dirt. For the best results, you should use a clean cloth, bike-specific spray, and some cleaning brushes for the hard to remove dirt.
All you need to do is soak the bike and spray it down, leave it for a few minutes, and then wash it off. Afterward, you will need to spray your bike down with a protector spray that will prevent it from getting water-damaged.
Keep It Lubed
Although it’s a relatively easy job, if you’ve never done it you won’t know how to clean a bike chain. Don’t worry, because the guys over at velosurance.com can tell you everything you need to know. Furthermore, they can offer you affordable insurance in the event of any unfortunate accidents.
The process is simple and you can get a drive chain device to make your life easier. The basic principle is that you wash your chain with a cleaning brush until it gleams, then you add a small amount of degreaser to a cloth and run the chain backward and then let it dry. Once it’s dried up, you need to apply lubricant to the chain, ensuring every single link is covered. Your bike will last longer and you will find it much easier to pedal.
Check Your Tires
If you use your bike regularly, it’s a good idea to check your tire pressure at least once a week – you want to be aiming for pressure anywhere between 80 – 120 psi. Having the correct tire pressure will greatly improve the performance of your bike and prevent you from easily getting punctures or having your tire blowout. If you’re quite a large person, you may want to slightly increase the pressure to compensate, and the same goes the other way if you’re particularly small.
Check Your Gears
When you’ve been riding your bike for some time, you will notice that your gears start to shift. This is because your derailleur has moved slightly in transit or the cable has begun to slack. You can index your gears quite easily at home, although it does take some practice. The first thing you need to do is locate the barrel adjuster on the rear derailleur (or near the front shifter for the front derailleur). Next, you twist your barrel adjuster clockwise or anti-clockwise until the shifter runs up and down as smoothly as the day you got it.
Check Your Brakes
This goes without saying, but brakes are essential for your safety and those around you. The last thing you want is worn-down brake pads when you’re hurtling downhill at 40mph. There are typically two types of brake (disc and V), but the principle is essentially the same. You need to make sure that the wire will travel through the housing with just the right amount of tension, which can often be altered by twisting a barrel or using an Allen key at the wheel end. Next, you should take a look at the brake pads and make sure they aren’t worn down – you will be able to see when they’re too low.
Tighten Your Nuts
Your bike is put together by all sorts of nuts and bolts so it’s important to check that they’re all tight regularly. There’s nothing worse than having your bike fall apart while you’re riding it. The best way to ensure that your bike stays together is using a screwdriver, Allen keys, and a torque wrench every week and tighten all the screws – it might be an arduous job, but it’s better than the potential alternative.
Keeping on top of your bike maintenance is essential for your safety and to prolong the life of your bike. The majority of maintenance jobs can be done at home, which will save you considerable costs on labor. After all, if your bike needs a repair, why not try it yourself before you turn to the professionals? With a few basic tools, liquids, and clean rags, you can do just about any job your bike throws at you.