Basic Bike Maintenance Tips

Basic Bike Maintenance Tips

Being able to fix your own bike can be both empowering and can save you money.

Being able to fix your own bike can be both empowering and can save you money. Below are some easy fixes you can do at home, though we at the Bike to Work Society do recommend that you get your bike fully-serviced by bike shop professionals, thus supporting local bike shops. Stay tuned as well for upcoming webinars on bike maintenance!

Bike Skills instructor, Todd Kalyiuk, hosted our first Beginner Bike Maintenance Webinar:

For more advanced maintenance, Todd recommends learning maintenance tips from videos rather than a book. Youtube channels like ParktoolGMB-MTBGlobal Cycling Network and RJ the Bike Guy are all great resources.

Do you learn better from reading? Try these Parktool repair help articles. Search any mechanic related issues in their vast archive. 

Tips for brakes adjustments.

Beginners – To inflate your tires, look for the recommended maximum pressure, which is almost always embossed on the sidewall of the tire. A standing or floor pump has a pressure gauge to indicate how full your tires are, while a hand pump usually doesn’t have a gauge and is harder to pump up at higher pressures. Filling your tire with too much air can risk popping the tube, while under-inflating your tire increases the risk of damaging your tube or rim when going over bumps.

There are two types of valves on tubes: Schrader and Presta.

  • Schrader Valve:
  • Presta Valve:

Schraders are found on mountain bikes and cruisers, while prestas are mostly found on road bikes and hybrids.

Keeping your chain clean and lubed will help your gears shift and make your rider smoother. Check out this video on cleaning and lubricating your chain: Specialized How-to: Lubricate a Chain

Intermediate:

  • You may need to replace brake pads if your brakes have lost their stopping power. Take a look at the rubber on the pads – if you can’t see any indents, teeth, or grooves at all in the pads, it means the top layer of rubber has worn away and you need to replace them. Check out this video on how to replace rim pads yourself.

One of the most common cycling issues is getting a flat tire and therefore, you’ll want to know how to fix flats. Below are some tips on how to avoid getting flat tires. Check out this video for a step-by-step guide on how to change a flat tire.

  • Avoiding flats: Keep a keen eye out for surface hazards and ride around them, or if you can’t avoid them, unweight the saddle as you pass over them. The area close to the curb (and often the bike lane) is where all of the glass shards, sharp rocks, and other junk wind up. If you ride too close to the curb, you greatly increase the risk of tire punctures.  Give yourself space and take the lane if need be. 
  • Ride at your tire’s recommended inflation pressure 
  • Be gentle with your valve while inflating/handling.  Your valve is where metal and rubber meet each other.  If the valve gets twisted and pulled in the valve hole, the metal will slice into the rubber, causing a flat that will require a new tube.

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