Does Your Bike Need a Tune-Up
Like all mechanical means of transportation – motorcycles, cars, airplanes included – bicycles need maintenance from time to time. A well-maintained bike works better and, since it responds to your controls and has functional breaks, is safer on the road. Looking after your bike doesn’t have to be a dreary procedure. Follow the tips below to increase bike safety and performance quickly and conveniently, without too much hassle.
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Essential Bike Maintenance Rules
- Make sure that the brakes work and that the tire pressure is good. Do it every time you go out. If you’re not sure about the tire pressure, just hop on your bike – well-inflated tires make your bike ‘feel’ comfortable.
- Apply sewing machine oil to chain links, brake and gear levels, and front and rear brake pivots and derailleur gears, but ensure that you don’t spill oil on the rims. It’s recommended that you apply oil to the moving parts of your bike at least once every two weeks.
- Look out for worn brake blocks or frayed brake cables and replace them if necessary. These will need to be replaced sooner or later. While you’re at it, also check whether the brake system is properly adjusted and there is clearance between the handlebars and brake levers.
- Clean the dirt off your frame, chain, and brakes to prevent damage and rusting. Use a degreaser for cleaning the chain, and then reapply oil to it.
- Keep the seat post at the correct height to increase the comfort of your rides. You can use tape to mark the height of the post and then adjust it accordingly. Also, remove the post and clean it at least once a year. Clean the seat tube too.
- Send your bike to a mechanic if the gears don’t work well anymore, unless you’re an expert yourself.
- Ensure that the pedal axle isn’t loose, and spins freely.
- Check the wheels to make sure the valves are not leaking and the rims are straight. Fix loose or broken spokes and tighten loose axle nuts.
- Lubricate the bottom bracket cable guide. It’s the little trough on which the derailleur cables glide.
- Send your bike to a specialist mechanic once or twice a year if you use it on a daily basis or engage in amateur or professional races. This will boost your bike safety and performance. Nowadays bicycle mechanics are easy to find and affordable.
Staying Safe on the Road
Carrying out the maintenance tips above on a regular basis considerably improves the responsiveness and control of your bicycle, and that in turn increases the bike safety. Unresponsive brakes, deflated tires, and poorly working gears may seem like tiny problems, but on the road they can cause nasty accidents and injuries. Maintain your bike, use a helmet, grab a bright cycling jersey with a nice fluorescence, and pedal with the traffic rather than against it, and you’ll become an example for other bikers. Not to mention that you’ll dramatically reduce your accident risk.
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