When gyms and gyms closed their doors earlier this year due to the pandemic, bicycles flew off the shelves as people looked for ways to be active while staying socially aloof.
But just like cars, bikes need to be serviced. However, unlike cars, you can do a lot of basic bike maintenance yourself.
Jake McFadden is a bicycle technician at E-mobilize bikes, a St. Petersburg, Florida mobile bicycle service provider that performs bicycle service, repairs, and safety checks.
“The things we check during the safety inspection are also great starting points for your own bike maintenance training,” said McFadden.
This allows you to do your own basic bike maintenance at home.
1. Check the tire pressure and the tread on your bike
Keep track of tire pressure and tread wear. If you take care of your tires proactively, your bike will keep running for miles.
“The first thing you want to do when servicing a bike is squeeze the tires,” said McFadden. “If you squeeze the tires and they’re soft or easily compressible, it’s a sure sign that you need to inflate them.”
If you haven’t invested in a bike pump, get one. Pumps can be bought for as little as $ 20 in places like your local bike shop, Target, and Amazon.
You need to find the PSI range (i.e. pound-force per square inch) printed on the side of the tire near the rim. Use this option to determine how much air to pump into your tires and close the valves when you’re done.
However, if the tire goes flat shortly after inflating, you will likely be repairing the breakdown, which means changing the bike tube embedded in the tire.
“If you’re sure, you can change an inner tube yourself,” said McFadden. “If not, a local bike shop can do this for you quickly and cheaply.”
Bicycle tires also wear out over time. McFadden said if you see the individual threads that make up the tire sticking through the tread, glass or dirt sticking through the rubber, or bubbles in the tire skin, it’s best to wait for new tires before getting yours Bring Ross to the streets.
2. Keep your brake pads in good condition
Since no one wants a moment of brake-free panic flying downhill, be sure to keep an eye on your brake pads.
Bicycles generally have two different types of brakes: rim brakes and disc brakes. Many newer motorcycles have disc brakes, but rim brakes are still widely used. Brake pads for rim brake wheels are indented and grooved. This will help the pad grip the rim of the bike wheel, slow the bike down, or bring it to a stop.
If you feel like your brakes are taking longer to activate than you’d like, take a look at the pads that are usually on top of the fork that holds your wheels in place. If the brake pads are shiny and the indentations are worn out, you should look for new brake pads for your safety and the longevity of your bike wheels.
“You should be able to squeeze your brake lever and feel the brakes click when the lever is no more than halfway up the handlebars,” McFadden said. If the brakes seem loose, it may be time to replace the brake pads.
Changing the brake pads can be daunting, but it’s fairly straightforward. This video shows you how to replace them yourself and make sure they are properly positioned and tightened. All you need is one Allen key and Brake pad setthat you can buy for around $ 10.
3. Clean the chain
A bicycle chain enables the rider to shift into different gears. Over time, bicycle chains can become soiled and degreased from natural elements such as dirt and rain, as well as from general use.
Keeping the chain well lubricated is key to long life. But before you lubricate it, you need to clean it.
To clean your chain, put a few drops of detergent on a damp cloth and run the cloth over the chain as you twist the pedals backwards. To start relubricating, put a few droplets of lubricant on the chain – avoid the gears and chainrings – and then step back on the bike again.
“You know you need more lubricant on your bike when you ride, and it seems like you have a colony of mice on your bike,” said McFadden.
So if your bike sounds exceptionally squeaky, it is probably time to examine the chain.
There are a variety of different lubricants available, but a generic wet lubricant like this one from the finish line will usually do the trick, and it costs less than $ 10.
Not only will your bike sound good by servicing your chain, but other vital bike parts such as the chainring, gears, and derailleurs will stay healthy throughout their life.
4. Make sure the screws are tightened securely
It goes without saying that no cyclist wants their bike to fall apart during a ride. This is why it is so important that you make sure that the bolts on your bike are properly tightened.
The stem that attaches the handlebars to the bike frame is a critical area to evaluate. McFadden provides a simple review to test for this.
“Take the front wheel and stand it between your legs. Try turning the handlebars gently,” McFadden said. “If the handlebar jerks or shifts, you have to tighten the screws on the stem.”
According to McFadden, many bicycles bought from large retailers like Target, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods are often not assembled by professional cyclists. As a result, it is very likely that certain screws will not be tightened securely.
Note that it is also possible to overtighten the bolts on your bike, which may pull the threads off the bolt or tear some of your components. If you’re not sure, especially if it’s your first time doing this, many mechanics do it for free as part of a safety clearance. Just go to your local bike shop and ask.
5. Keep your bike clean
While dirt and gravel may not damage your two-wheeled friend immediately, the build-up can damage your bolts, gears, and chain links, among other things.
Keeping your bike clean will make your investment last longer. You don’t need to do a thorough cleaning, says McFadden. A simple wipe with soap and water is sufficient.
“Just use a small piece of dish soap and a damp rag to wipe off dirt and clean your frame,” he said. “Wash off any remaining soap or dirt with warm water and dry the frame.”
When you are more comfortable with your bike, you can really get into the nooks and crannies. However, if you are nervous about messing up your bike, cleaning the main parts of the bike frame is enough to keep your bike happy and healthy.
McFadden’s Farewell Advice: Take the Time to Understand a Bike Before Working on it.
“Make sure you understand how something works before using any tools, ”said McFadden. “If you can’t figure out how something works, don’t put tools on it. Take it to a bike technician instead.”
Of course, sometimes things come up that we can’t fix ourselves, such as: B. Problems with the transmission, problems with the internal frame and much more. In this case, visit your local bike shop or Bicycle cooperative. Most general repairs and repairs run in the $ 50 to $ 100 range and are worth the price if you and your bike can go for miles.
Kristin Jenny is an employee of The Penny Hoarder.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com