Owning and riding a bike often requires a proper bicycle maintenance in order for it to last longer and having smaller chance to damage it. A lot of factors can affect bicycle that could lower its functionality and performance throughout everyday use: Imperfections on the road such as holes, cracks, scraps of metal, and chunks of gravel/ wood; cycling and exposure to bad weather conditions (rain/snow); bad handling and uneven power transfer on pedals; accidents (fall/hit); and careless usage like throwing it on the ground or riding it on surface that is not meant for that kind of bike.
These parts only require minimum level of maintenance and it is usually cleaning from dirt, oil and mud (frame, fork, wheel rims/heads, tubes, and handlebar). It is handy if you have some stand to hang your bike so you can remove wheels in order to have easy access to clean some ‘hidden’ corners of the frame. In order to preserve frame and some mechanical parts from decaying or rusting, always keep them dry and indoors, protecting them from elemental exposure and daily temperature change.
Parts That Need Checking
Image Source: Roadcyclinguk.com
Just right before the ride, it is very important to make some preparations by checking your bike. Check tire surface for any scrap of metal or small piece of wood and remove it so you can minimize tire damage. Put your thumb on tire and squeeze it with your other hand to check its pressure. If tire deforms significantly, it needs more air pressure. Low pressure with your weight will lower the rims towards ground and due road imperfections it could damage them, or they can blow the inner tires. Spin the wheels in place to check if they will touch the brakes. If it does, then the wheel needs tuning. Squeeze the brake lever and push the bike forward. If the lever is too close to handlebar, then it needs to be tightened. If cable is frayed or rusted, have them replaced.
Often Maintained Parts
Mechanical parts such as chain, gearing, crank, brakes and wires, need higher level of your attention. Chain and gearing must be clean from any accumulated dirt and scrap that could damage it. Use de-greaser or gasoline with an old dry rag to clean it and apply new lubricant. Well maintained chain will allow you smooth rides, easy gear changing and it will last longer. Some of the parts require tuning from knowledgeable person, such as wheel wires, rear and front gearshift (derailleur) adjustment. If you are not so skilled or simply do not want to mess around with such work, visit local cycling mechanic, because the service should be cheap.