"Up-close bike"

If you are dependent on your bicycle to get around, you need to take very good care of it. Because damages caused to your bike are not all immediately noticeable, a neglected bike could leave you stranded unexpectedly. By keeping your bike well-tuned and performing the necessary maintenance when you first notice a problem, you will save yourself significant hassle,  money, and time down the (literal) road.

While heavily-damaged bicycles may need to be taken to a repair shop and looked at by experts, many simple fixes can be done at home. Even better, many preventative steps can be taken at home to increase your bike’s odds of lasting for a longer amount of time.

RollsRite Bicycles, a bike service and repair shop in North Carolina, suggests many simple ways to keep your bike in working order:

  • Keep your bike clean: If you ever ride your bike outside, it will get dirty. Regularly wash your bike with soap and water to keep the dirt from getting clogged or from wearing out your bike prematurely.
  • Frequently check the tires: Keeping your tires filled with the correct amount of air will improve both your riding quality and your riding safety. RollsRite suggests checking the tire pressure each time you ride. As your tires lose air, they will force you to pedal harder. Soft tires are more likely to wear out faster and go flat.
  • Keep the chain and sprockets clean: Use a brush to clean dirt and residue from the gears and the spaces between them. Failure to do so will result in increased wear-and-tear on your bike and make riding more difficult for you.

For a complete list of RollsRite’s suggestions, click here.

While they are helpful, these RollsRite recommendations are only the beginning. Just as you would with a car, motorcycle, or other method of transportation, you need to properly store your bike to protect it from the elements. Whenever possible, keep your bike in your house, garage, or a shed or other protected area on your property. Do not leave your bike outside for extended periods of time. If you wish to store your bike in your garage or in a storage shed, you do not need much space. You can either hang your bike from a wall by using vinyl-coated bike hooks or use a bicycle storage display stand. If you are considering storing your bike outside in a “covered” area like a porch, keep in mind that the outdoor air will still damage and corrode the metal. Even if your bike is safe from the sun, wind, and rain, the moisture in the air will be detrimental to your bike’s overall health.

Depending on how much you ride, it is important to inspect your bicycle on a weekly or monthly basis. Check your brake pads, look closely at all cables, and inspect the frame for rust or cracks. By taking care of your bike, you allow your bike to take you wherever you need to go! For more information and tips on how to care for your bike, visit jimlangley.net.

Photo Courtesy of Neil Cain and Creative Commons.