Ten basic tips for bike maintenance
We asked Jane Davis at Lewisham Cyclists for her top 10 tips for looking after your bike.
1. Keep your bike clean – this includes your drivetrain (chain and gears), wheels and brakes
- wipe down your bike every so often with soapy water but avoid your brake pads. If you get soapy water on these, rinse thoroughly with warm water or an isopropyl alcohol make sure the wheel nuts or quick release levers in your wheel are properly secured after cleaning.
2. Degrease and re-lubricate your drivetrain
- a dirty chain gets worn out quickly, wears out the cogs at the back of the bike and can be expensive to replace (you might need a special degreaser from a bike shop).
3. Keep your tyres well pumped up
- the tyres should feel very firm when you squeeze both sides of the tyre together
- if you cycle regularly it’s worth getting a proper track pump, they have a pressure gauge so you can pump your tyres to the recommended pressure. The recommended tyre pressure is usually printed on the tyre, shown as a minimum and a maximum number followed by PSI (pounds per square inch).
4. Check your tyres for worn areas, cracks and anything that’s got stuck in the rubber such as bits of stone or glass, and get rid of them often.
- That way they can’t work through the tyre and cause a puncture.
5. Check your brakes.
- If the pads are worn they will need replacing. They usually have wear indicator gaps which disappear when the rest of the pad is worn away. That’s the time to replace them.
6. Carry a puncture repair kit
- this includes a pump, a small multi tool or spanner, and a spare inner tube that fits your tyre
- if you don’t know how to use these, ask a friend or watch a tutorial online.
7. Regularly check the nuts and bolts that keep things secure on your bike
- This includes mudguards, luggage racks and water bottle cages - they can come loose and you could lose them eventually
8. Check out any unfamiliar noises, clanking, creaking, squeaking, bumping, clicking or clanging.
- If you can’t find out what’s causing it, it’s probably time to ask your friendly local bike mechanic! Always take your bike to a professional if you’re unsure about anything.
9. Learn the ABCD check and do it before you ride
10. If you can, get some basic bike maintenance training.
Published on: 26/06/2020