Riding a bike is good for health or weight loss. However, a bike can only serve this purpose if it is maintained well. A bike that is maintained works smoothly, lasts longer and is less prone to accidents.
It is uncommon to find people who do not know how to maintain their bikes in the right manner. Here are the top five tips you need to consider.
Keep the Tires Inflated
The pressure of the tires has a significant impact on the quality of a bike. A low tire pressure means that you have to work harder on the pedals to keep the right speed than tires with high pressure. Tires with low pressure are also more susceptible to flats than those that are well inflated.
You need to invest in a quality floor pump with a gauge to help keep the pressures of the tires at suitable levels. The rear tire should have more pressure since it handles most of the weight. You should check the pressure of the tires at least once in two weeks.
In case you are changing a tire, run your fingers along the inside of the rim to check for foreign objects. Foreign objects such as gravel or pieces of glass can pinch the tire against the rim and cause a flat. Also, check the new tube to make sure it is not caught between the tire and the rim.
Adjust the Brakes Correctly
You want to make sure your brakes respond correctly when you need them. They can only perform correctly if you adjust and repair them.
You first have to test the performance of your brakes by pressing the brake levers while the bike is moving. If you pull the lever until it touches the handlebar, then your brakes need some adjustments.
You can adjust the brakes using the barrel in the brake lever. Making the screw in the barrel tight moves the brake pads closer to the rim. You may also unscrew the bolt holding the wire and straighten or tighten the wire before screwing the bolt back.
It is also imperative you keep the pads and all components of the braking system free from dirt. You can use alcohol-based products for cleaning.
Clean Your Bike Regularly
A clean bike is easier to ride than one with mud and dirt everywhere. It also becomes easier to spot a problem and deal with it without too much trouble if your bike is clean. For instance, fixing a flat tire is often difficult when the bike is dirty because you cannot locate the point of puncture.
All you need to clean your bike is a bucket of warm water, detergent that cuts grease, a few sponges and at least two brushes. Make sure you wet the entire bike to loosen any mud or grime before you use the brush. This way, you won’t scratch the paint, which is what normally happens when you begin scratching with a brush before wetting the whole surface.
Make sure every part of the bike is clean, including the brake pads and rims. It is also a good idea to inspect the bike for any faults as you clean.
Keep the Drivetrain Lubricated
A bike that produces a rattling and squeaking sound is embarrassing and annoying, especially when you are riding in a group. You can save yourself from the embarrassment by cleaning and greasing your drivetrain regularly. The squeaking sound is produced when the metals rub against each other due to insufficient grease.
It is also not cheap to replace the worn out parts, so make sure you regularly clean and grease the drivetrain to save some money. You will require some rags, bike oil and de-greasers. You may also require a toothbrush and screwdriver to access the inner parts of the chains and wheels.
Make Sure the Bolts and Nuts are Tight
Make sure all the screws, bolts and nuts in the bike are where they should be by checking if they are loose. Screws and bolts often come off as a result of the constant vibration when you are riding. Some bolts, especially those holding the head tube and handlebars, can cause serious accidents when they come off.
Make sure you don’t tighten the bolts too much. Some bolts have the torque limit written on them. You can buy a bike multi-tool that applies only a specified amount of torque.