With proper maintenance, a good bike can serve you for multiple years or even decades. On the other hand, neglect and improper handling can cause it to break down within weeks of use. Thus, it is important for bike owners to heed the recommendations of professionals and apply proper care to their prized possession. Below, we have outlined 4 aspects of bicycle maintenance which we consider crucial.
- Get a tool kit (or two)
A tool kit is a vital purchase for anyone that doesn’t want to rely on a bike mechanic whenever a minor issue comes up. In fact, you can benefit from 2 different types of tool kits. Firstly, there is the home kit – a wide set of instruments that are used for maintenance. These kits usually include a pump with a pressure indicator, wrenches, brushes and rags, cleaning solutions, and oils. On the other hand, there is the mobile toolkit, which you can take with you on your trip. It will usually include a small pump, tire patches and glue, Band-Aids, and other health solutions.
- Perform a safety check before each ride
You do not want to encounter any unexpected surprises in the middle of your trip, so it is advisable to make sure that everything is working properly before you set off. The first and most basic recommendation is to check the tire pressure. You should push it to a safe level and make sure that no air is leaking out. The brakes should also be checked to make sure they work as expected and do not brush against the wheel or squeak.
Another major factor you should gauge is how well the transmission works. You can turn your bike over, start spinning the pedals, and see how well the changes in transmission are processed. If any gears or bolts are coming loose, you can tighten them with a wrench or screwdriver.
- Care for your bicycle in the long-term
Even if you don’t cycle regularly, long-term care is recommended to keep your bicycle ready for quick use when the situation demands it. One of the things to keep in mind is oiling the chain. When it gets too dry, it can make distracting sounds and get jammed, causing damage. Thus, you can keep it moderately oiled to ensure a smooth ride. Another long-term consideration is the removal of rust and dirt. Over time, both can cause damage, so cleaning your frame every once in a while (with soap water or anti-rust solution) will keep your bicycle looking beautiful and functional.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There are so many cyclists nowadays that you should not ever feel alone when you face a problem. For example, if you break down in the middle of a trip, you can ask fellow cyclists for advice or something physical to help with your issue. Most of them are an easy-going bunch and will be eager to assist. The same principle applies to mechanics: you do not need to try to fix a seriously damaged bike by yourself, and should not hesitate to contact someone who knows how to do it better.