The good news is that nearly everybody is skilled enough to keep their bicycle in top shape, even if they know next to nothing about bicycle repair. Most bicycle repairs are easy and can be done in less than 30 minutes, using very few tools. Even better, there are a lot of things you can do to keep your bicycle in top shape and to prevent surprises along the way. Here are some things you can do to keep you bicycle running smoothly.
- Incorrect tire pressure is one of the main reasons bicycles get damaged. Too much or too little pressure and the wheels won't work at their full potential. Also make sure you check for splits or cuts, and pay attention to wobbly wheels that need adjustments.
- To keep the bicycle chain in top shape, you need to lubricate it often. There are different types of lubricants available depending on the type of bicycle you have, so bring the bike with you to the shop to ask for advice, or read the manual if you have one. If the chain is sticking or squeaking, it needs to be cleaned.
- Brakes are one of the most important parts of your bicycle, so make sure they work perfectly by trying them often. If you press the brakes all the way down and the bicycle is still moving, you need to readjust the pressure.
- Keep the bicycle away from water and extreme temperature changes. This doesn't mean you should avoid riding in the rain, but storing your bicycle outside 24/7 is a recipe for disaster. If you discover rust, get rid of it immediately with sandpaper or WD-40.
- Make sure to stay alert to noises, which can mean loose parts or broken pieces. Any changes in the way a bicycle feels when you ride it is also an indication that something is wrong.
To keep your bicycle in top shape, you will also need some basic tools, including a patch kit for tires, Allen wrenches in different sizes, screwdrivers (both regular and Phillips), WD-40 or grease, needle-nosed pliers, and small wire cutters. Keep these at home or carry them with you on a small pouch, as many repairs need to be done on the go.