For Bike to Work Week, I thought I’d talk to a bike mechanic and ask for some tips on caring for your bicycle—especially for novices.
If you currently have a bike, what are a few symptoms of future problems you should watch out for?
The most important thing is to check that everything is tight—the bolts are tight, your handlebar bolts are tight, the pedals, the crank bolts, no loose spokes.
Everyone should have an Allan key. You can check everything with about three sizes of Allan key, and you should do it once a month, depending on how much you’re riding. You just want to make sure nothing will fall off. You’ll notice if things are loose. If something feels weird on your bike, then there usually is something wrong.
The next big thing is your gears: make sure your chain is lubed. If a chain gets dry, it will be at risk for breaking and won’t shift very well. You can do it two times a week if you’re riding daily. Don’t use WD-40, since it’s too thin. Chain lube is thicker and will stay on for a good period of time. Tri-Flow and ProLink are good brands.
Tire pressure also highly affects the ride. Check every week or two: give your tires a pinch or use a gauge. If you’re on the road, your tire pressure should be maxed out completely. And every tire shows the pressure max and min on it.