Cleaning your bike and pre-ride inspections are basic activities that can help prevent downtime and dangerous malfunctions. We all want to enjoy riding and avoid breakdowns. While you may prefer to trust your bike to a professional, there are some routine preventive maintenance activities you’ll want to make a habit of doing yourself on a regular basis.
- A Pre-Ride Inspection before each ride will help you to catch problems early enough to avoid safety hazards. You can accomplish a basic inspection to find and fix rattles, squeaks, wobbles or damage using some basic tools and one of our basic checklists. Make an appointment to take your bike to our shop, and we’ll show you how to complete a quick and effective pre-ride inspection.
- In the meantime, we recommend you spend a few minutes making these basic checks before going out on your next ride:
Squeeze brake levers to ensure brakes grip wheel rims firmly and have sufficient padding.
Use a pressure gauge to check tire air pressure. It should be slightly under the recommended level shown on your sidewall. Under-inflation causes rolling resistance that increases the amount of energy you’ll need to pedal your bike. Over-inflation can cause tire unbeading as well as blowing, especially in hot weather when air expands inside the tube. In addition, remember to look for cracks, cuts or other physical damage.
Spin each wheel to check for wobble and to see if the brake pads touch the rims.
Spin pedals to ensure they move freely but that they cannot be pulled away from cranks.
Adjust saddle height so when seated your heels should come in contact on the pedals, pedaling backwards, making sure your pelvic is not rocking from side to side. This quick adjustment is a developing beginning point to correct saddle height.
- Chain, Shifters and Derailleurs
Visually inspect these to ensure each is clean and lubricated. The chain should line up on each of the gears when the pedals are moved. See our post on extending chain life for more information. Schedule a visit with us and we’ll show you how to lubricate your bike effectively.
Check bolts to make certain they are tight. Over-tightening can lead to component damage or failure, too, so feel free to schedule a visit with Freewheel to learn how to tighten bolts properly.
- Safety/Maintenance Kit
Always take your identification, medical insurance information, first aid kit and tire tube repair supplies on your ride. Remember check your helmet and make certain you have hydration fluids with you.
To make sure your bike is always in top condition – it is best to schedule a basic tune-up every couple of months depending on how many miles you are riding. Freewheel Cycles offers a maintenance package that takes the guesswork out of scheduling tune-ups at the right intervals. Check our maintenance plans here and schedule a tune-up. There still plenty of outdoor riding season left.