Cycling is one of the healthiest, most accessible, and most exciting recreational activities. These are a few of the reasons why some people swear by their bikes both as a mode of transportation and for leisure, and need to find ways to care for their bike properly. This constant use naturally affects the excellent condition of the bicycles.
Proper maintenance of your bicycle is essential to guarantee good performance and safety when riding it, as well as to prolong its lifespan. This is what cyclists who compete in professional championships do to ensure that they can give it their all while minimizing risks.
Do you go for cycling picnics, long cross-country rides, or even hit mountain biking trails? How do you care for your bike to ensure you don’t encounter problems when on the ride? Proper care implies having the bike and its parts cleaned, greased, and regularly checked for any issues so that everything goes smoothly. And not only that, but it will also make your ride last you longer.
Ideally, bicycles should be kept at the same level of performance as when new, with all the parts well-adjusted and in perfect condition. But of course, continuous use causes the bikes to wear and tear.
In this post, we recommend five tips to take care of your bicycle and its different parts without going to a mechanic.
Check them out!
1. Check the Tire Pressure
One of the most critical factors for a comfortable ride is the tire pressure. If it is too low, the effort to maintain speed will be much greater than if the tires had adequate pressure. The air level in the tires must always be at its optimal point. This means that the pressure must be sufficient to support the weight of the cyclist as well as changes in the terrain. It is typical for the air in the tires to escape, so always check them before using your bike.
Note that the rear tire must have more pressure, as it supports more weight than the front area. The recommended pressure is indicated on the tire, where the maximum and minimum pressures usually appear. In this regard, ensure that you monitor your tires at least once every two weeks.
It is essential to have the most useful and important items in the cyclists’ toolbox. One of them is a floor or manual air pump, preferably with a pressure gauge, to verify that the pressure level matches the one suggested by the tire manufacturer.
How to Maintain Adequate Pressure:
- Look on the sides of your tires for the indicated pressure range.
- Before riding, check that your tires are inflated.
- At least once a week, measure the pressure and inflate them to the pressure recommended by the manufacturer.
If you use your bicycle constantly, it is highly recommended to purchase a floor pump.
2. Store It in Indicated Places
Of all the tips to take appropriate care of your ride, the storage place of your bikes is one of the fundamental aspects to keep them in good condition. Since this is where they will spend most of the time, the conditions of these places must be suitable so as not to affect the bicycles.
Whether you park them indoors, in your garage or your home, or you opt for a dedicated bike storage shed that allows you to leave them outdoors, the place where you store your bikes should not be humid. The humidity could cause corrosion and oxidation, especially in metallic parts such as the frame. In addition to this, the storage place should be free from dust. It is recommended to cover the bike to avoid contact with dust particles.
Climatic factors, such as humidity and rainwater, and the conditions of the storage space can affect the performance of the bike. So it is essential to cover your bikes with some plastic to protect them.
3. Clean the Parts
When cycling, moisture, dirt, and dust inevitably stick to the bike parts. The ideal is to clean them frequently. You can do the entire cleaning of the bike every time it is used, or you can do it once a week. This is the most laborious step in taking care of your bike. Cleaning of the frame is not the same as cleaning the chains. Cleaning the frame could combine wet cleaning with water and some detergent.
An initial shower with some cold water can be an ideal starting point for the mud to soften and be easier to remove. In these cases, pressure washer machines are a great ally. They squirt water at high pressure, which helps remove stubborn debris.
On the other hand, the chains require dry cleaning to avoid corrosion and oxidation of their parts. To do this, you can use a dishwasher-type soap, a soft sponge, and rinse it all well.
4. Clean and Lubricate the Transmission
Regularly cleaning and lubricating the drive train (chain, lever, chainrings, tensioners, and derailleur) ensures a smoother gear change and a more comfortable ride. Have you been hearing loud noises and squeals coming from your bike? These are due to the friction of the metal, the dirt, and the mud when the components are not sufficiently lubricated.
Lubrication is responsible for the entire traction system to move smoothly. Doing this periodically is an excellent way to extend the life expectancy of the drive train. You will not have to replace them regularly, and therefore you will save money.
Keep in mind that how often you need to clean the drive train depends on how, where, and when you ride your bike. However, you should know that the more you do it and apply lube to your bike chain, the less time it will take in the future.
Ensure you use good lubricating oil and not grease. The big difference is that good quality oil does not damage the transmission, while grease creates a sticky and viscous film that has an abrasive effect on it.
5. Care for the Brakes
Due to the issues of cleanliness and humidity, the brake cables tend to harden. Therefore, the pressure applied to the handles can start to activate the brakes less. You can remedy this by doing a quick little test on the wheels to ensure that they have freedom of movement and are not limited by hardened brakes.
To keep your precious bike in perfect condition, you must take care of your bicycle constantly, applying these care tips frequently. It will result in more enjoyable trips, more reliable safety, and, above all, greater durability of all the components.