Weekly Bike Maintenance
Here are some simple DIY bike maintenance steps you can do at home, which will help your bike function well, prolong the life of the components, and even prevent flats!
Inflate the Tires
The number-one cause of flats is riding on underinflated tires. Bicycle tires naturally lose a little bit of air over time, and need to be reinflated on a weekly basis (more or less, depending on type of tire). Keeping your tires at correct inflation is relatively simple, but please don’t feel bad if you find it intimidating. You’re definitely not alone. Here’s everything you need to know about putting air in your tires.
Oil the Chain
The best chain lubricants on the market today make frequent, thorough (and messy!) degreasing completely unnecessary, and even detrimental. With repeated use, these lubricants form a slippery polymer coating on the chain which repels moisture and dirt. Regular reapplication of the lubricant will both clean and lubricate the chain.
Begin by applying a drop of lubricant to each link, and turn the cranks until all links have been oiled. Next, hold the chain through a rag with your left hand while turning the cranks backward several revolutions with your right hand. If your chain looks very dirty, you may have to repeat this whole procedure. Then go ride. That’s all.
NOTE: It’s important not to mix different brands of chain lubricants, since you may end up with unpredictable results. Our preferred lube at Cosmic Bikes is Dumonde Tech bicycle chain lubricant, which we affectionately refer to as “tune-up in a bottle”.
Rim/Rotor and Frame Cleaning
Dirt and road residue built up on the braking surfaces of rims can affect the stopping power of rim brakes, and cause excessive wear on the rims. You can easily clean those rim surfaces by dabbing isopropyl alcohol on a rag, and wiping them down. White you do this, inspect the condition and wear of your brake pads. Disk brake rotors can also be cleaned by gently rubbing with alcohol. If the bike frame needs cleaning, you can use specially formulated bike polish, which (like car polish) will both clean and protect the finish, or simply wipe it down with a wrung out cloth dipped in soapy water.
Basic Safety Check
On a weekly basis, you should assess the condition of your bike, and spot any problems before they can cause any real harm. Here’s how to do a weekly bike safety check. If your inspection reveals anything that makes you uneasy, stop by Cosmic Bikes (or your local shop) for an evaluation by a mechanic. Many problems can be addressed with a simple and inexpensive adjustment.