4 hints to help keep your bicycle in top running order

July 29, 2015

A well-maintained bike can make cruising down the road seem almost effortless. It just takes a few minutes of care at regular intervals. Here are four hints to help you keep your bicycle in top running order.

4 hints to help keep your bicycle in top running order

1. Maintain proper tire pressure

Always inflate bicycle tires to the recommended air pressure. Remember, some tires can handle an inflation range.

  • When inflating tires that have a pressure range consider the rider's weight, as well as any loads that may be carried.
  • Higher pressure gives better performance on pavement and other hard surfaces, while lower pressure works better for off-road rides.

Gas station air hoses may inflate a bicycle tire too rapidly and often give inaccurate tire-pressure readings, which can result in a blowout.

  • Whenever possible, use a manual hand- or foot-operated pump with an accurate gauge.

2. Check your brakes

It's a good idea to regularly inspect your brakes before you go for a ride.

  • Squeeze each brake lever toward the handlebar to make sure the brake moves freely and stops the bike.
  • If the brake lever depresses all the way to the handlebar, it needs to be tightened.
  • Check out the brake pads: they should be about one to two millimetres (1/16- to 1/8-inch) away from the rim when the brakes are not applied. If you can stick a matchbook cover between the rim and brake, your brakes are properly adjusted.

3. Don't oil your bike chain

Lay off the oil. Yep, you heard that right. Machine oil does a fine job lubricating bike chains, but it also attracts dirt and debris that could wind up damaging them. Instead, use a dry chain lubricant.

  • Dry chain lubricant will keep your chain running smoothly without sucking up the dirt. You can buy dry lubricants at most bike shops.

4. Powder a new inner tube

Getting a flat tire on your bike is never enjoyable but it's a lot worse when you aren't equipped to fix it, especially if you're in the middle of nowhere.

  • Always pack a spare inner tube when you go for a long ride and some basic bike repair tools – and don't forget some talcum powder, too.

A light dusting of talc around the inside of the tire will make it easier to fit the inner tube and get you back on the road that much faster.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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