Basic Bicycle Maintenance
Bicycle maintenance and proper care is pretty simple stuff, but I’m amazed at the amount of people who don’t do enough of it. All it takes is 15 minutes every few weeks and you can prevent the inevitable cost of repairs and parts further down the line.
Follow our simple guide to ensure that you get hassle free enjoyment of your bike for many years to come.
I’m not talking about a full valet here. Just a bucket of soapy water and a sponge. Clean away loose dirt from the frame and components. If you live by the sea, salt water can corrode your bike fast, so a regular cleaning will go a long way to preserving your bike.
A good soft brush will make it easier to clean the tighter spaces around the chain system, but take care not to scrub away any oil. A quick once-over is enough.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that leaving your bike out in all weather is going to cause rust and corrosion. If you don’t have a suitable garage, shed or utility room area, then any sort of shelter which keeps the rain off will certainly help.
If your bike is left exposed to the elements, try to take it out for a quick ride every few days. This will help it to dry off and usage of the gears and brakes will help to keep surface rust at bay.
Ensure that your tyres are inflated to the proper pressure. Exactly what determines ‘proper pressure’ is widely debated, with things such as rider weight and road surface often being mentioned. The recommended PSI for your tyres is usually printed on the side wall of the tyre itself. But if it is not, as a general rule, 100psi should be about right for a road bike and 50-60psi for a mountain bike.
Tip: Cheap hand pumps are usually not up to the task. Get yourself a track pump and you’ll have no trouble getting your tyres up to the correct pressure.
Without proper care, your chain will eventually rust. Chain links will seize together, causing the chain to slip from the cassette. If you’re unlucky, this can cause further damage to the bike.
For this you’ll need some proper chain oil. You can buy this at any good bicycle or hardware shop. Whilst slowly turning the pedals backwards, gradually apply the oil to the chain. Be careful to to squirt too much out, less is more. Keep turning the pedals backwards to work the oil right through the chain.
I find that it’s enough to oil my chain every month or so, but it depends on how often you use it.