Keep Your Bike in Great Shape With These 5 basic Maintenance Tips

I’ve been an avid biker for 15 years. I started biking when I had knee surgery and couldn’t run like I used to. My doctor suggested bike riding as an alternative so that it wouldn’t put pressure on my bad knee. Ever since then, I was hooked and I just love it so much! I now compete in bike tournaments and belong to a weekend bicycle riding group. So, you could say I know a thing or two about bicycles and how to keep them in optimal performance shape.

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Whether you ride for sport, for pleasure or even both, bikes can be an expensive toy. You want your bike to last a long time. Like any apparatus with moving parts, wear and tear is inevitable. The more you use it, the more you need to keep on top of its maintenance. Many people don’t realize that keeping your bicycle in great condition requires repairs and upkeep from time to time. You don’t want to be on a long bike ride and all of a sudden you are stuck because of a broken chain or a flat tire. I say this from experience. It wasn’t fun during one of my first bike tours when I got a flat tire. Bicycle maintenance is pretty easy and if you make it your routine whenever you take your bike out, you will enjoy many rides for years to come!

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1. Listen to your bike
Just like you know your car and your ears perk up when your car makes a strange noise, you should know when your bike is acting up. Any unfamiliar squeak, click or rattle should be investigated immediately. Nipping a problem in the bud could save you a future headache in getting stuck mid-ride and even costly bike repairs. Don’t ignore your bike when it’s trying to tell you something.

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2. Revive your brake pads
Brake pads are a very important part of your bike. Without them, you would be stopping your bike Flintstone style. Over time, brake pads tend to wear down leaving it in a glaze like condition from the friction and heat between the rim and the pad. By lightly scrubbing the brake pad surface with sandpaper, you will have brake pads that are just like new. So just take the few minutes to take care of your brake pads as sandpaper is way less expensive than buying new ones.

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3. Clean up your rims
Rims are very expensive to replace. Rims have a tendency to wear down pretty quickly without proper care and replacing them isn’t easy. These days, bicycles are made with the wheels attached so if the rim breaks, you may have to replace the entire wheel. To keep your rims lasting longer, simply wipe them down after each ride. This will remove any dirt, dust, and road salt that may get stuck to the rims and brake blocks. By taking a few minutes to clean them up will not only slow down the wear and tear, it will save you money by having to replace them too.

4. Use nail polish to cover up scratches
It is virtually impossible to keep your bike free from getting scratches, nicks and dents. Thank goodness nail polish has other functions than to make you look pretty. While nail polish won’t fix a dent, you can make your bike look a little better if you apply nail polish sparingly to nicks and scratches. With so many varieties of colors, you should have no problem finding a good match to your bike.

5. Occasionally re-adjust your seat post
You might not think that your seat post needs to be moved once you set it to a comfortable height, but if you leave it for too long in the same position it can get stuck. You might think, well, so what if it gets stuck at my height. Just think if you want to sell your bike or hand it down to one of your kids. You want to be able to have all parts in proper working order. Every few months remove and re-insert your seat post. If you have a metal seat post on a metal frame you should use grease. If your frame is made of carbon, friction paste will do the trick!