In essence, bikes are simple machines that can do amazing things. They can carry us to exotic locales, climb mountains, or carry groceries. A good bike can be a companion for many years, if you know how to keep it maintained. Just like a car, there are small things you can do that will prevent larger costly repairs or breakdowns out on the road.
Find the Goldilocks zone
With bikes, too much can be as damaging as too little. Over inflating your tires will cause as much if not more flats than under inflated ones. Figure out what your tires manufacturer recommends. Bolts that are too tight cause damage just like loose bolts; they put excess pressure on your bike, breaking small parts or wearing down larger ones. Lube is vital to a healthy bike, but too much can attract grit and dirt that will defeat the purpose. A finely tuned bike is a well oiled machine, and it is important to stay in the ranges where your bike operates at peak efficiency.
Clean it, Lube it, Tune it, Rule it
Adjusting and tuning a bike is how you make the bike fit how you ride. But doing it when the bike is dirty or improperly lubed can be a fruitless endeavor. If you want to work on your bike, make sure to wash and rinse it well, dry it completely, and apply correct lube. Once you have done that, your bike is ready to be worked on.
Replace before Regret
If something on your bike is wearing out or is held together with duct tape, it is probably time to look at replacing it. This is not just for aesthetics, because nothing is worse than having something fail mid ride.
Sand and Grit and Broken Glass
If you skin your knee on the road, you should always make sure to clear any gravel or sand out before you bandage it up. Your bike is the same way. On a ride, it is inevitably going to pick up some gritty hitchhikers along the way. Make sure to check all it’s favorite hiding places like brake pads, cleats, and between the tube and tire.
Sweat the small stuff yourself
Biking can quickly become an expensive hobby if you have to constantly pay someone else to repair minor problems. Many things on a bike can be fixed with just an Allen Wrench and some know how. We live in a wonderful world full of youtube videos and wikihows. Odds are you can find out how to do it yourself and it is probably easier than you think.
Get your shop in order
Knowing where your tools are and having a nice space to work it will let you do repairs quickly and regularly. It is also a good idea to get a proper work stand so you can use both hands to do precise repairs instead of balancing the bike. Our family at Christensen and Hymas has a passion for cycling and educating the state about bike laws and safety. For a free book all about new cycling laws in Utah, call us at 1-800-LAW-BOOK.