February 8, 2016
Even bikes need TLC
I love my bikes. They provide transportation to get me to the grocery store, to make my errands faster and easier. They provide pure recreational fun, they help me exercise and stay fit. And so they get a lot of use. And occasionally I let them suffer from a bit of benign neglect. A bit of bike care and cleaning really helps.
There are a few basic things all of us bike owners can do to keep our bikes running smoothly.
Before each ride it is good to do what is called an ABC Quick Check:
A – Air. Check to be sure your tires have enough air
B – Brakes. Check your brakes to make sure your brake pads are in good condition and that your brakes engage your wheels.
C – Chain/Cranks. Make sure your chain is not overly dry and rusty or gunked up. Make sure your cranks aren’t loose.
Quick – Make sure the quick release for your tires is secured.
Check – Check for anything that feels or sounds wrong as you start your ride.
Basic home care:
1. Tires at recommended air pressure. Most tires have the recommended p.s.i. stamped directly on the tire.
2. Keep it lubed. Moving metal parts benefit greatly from a bit of lube to keep things running smoothly.
3. Clean bike. A basic bike wipe down after riding in wet, muddy or icy conditions goes a long way. Periodically clean your bike with cleaner to get off the grime and build-up that a wipe down leaves behind. Park Tool gives a basic tutorial that is helpful if you are uncertain of how to clean your bike Park Tool bike cleaning.
4. Inspect your bike. It doesn’t take long to go over your bike front to back looking for frayed cables, cracked housing, rust. A wrench and multi-tool can be used to check for loose bolts on the various bike parts and on accessories too. Look at your brake pads to make sure they are not worn down.
Sometimes bikes need a bit more love than the basic cleaning and check over. Bottom brackets, headsets, out-of-true wheels need periodic attention and care. A yearly tune-up helps keep any bike running efficiently and smoothly.