Your Guide to Bicycle Maintenance

In much of the U.S., the weather is perfect for a bike ride.

The sky is clear, the sun is shining, and the birds are chirping. Spring is here at last, and there’s no better way to celebrate than to get on your bicycle and pedal.

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, there are few activities outside of the home that are still acceptable, but luckily, riding your bicycle is still one of them (at least for now). Riding a bicycle is an excellent way to keep your heart pumping, which can help to keep your immune system strong and working properly.

Riding your bicycle is fun and gets you moving, but it’s important to stay safe while you’re out riding. Right now, that means steering clear of crowded trails. Social distancing rules still apply when you’re on a bike, so you’ll want to avoid riding where there will be lots of other people out riding, walking, and running. Instead, try exploring a new neighborhood or riding in the early morning to avoid crowds.

In addition to protecting yourself while you’re out riding, you also need to make sure that your bicycle is mechanically ready for use in the spring, especially if it’s been sitting in your garage or storage shed all winter.

How to Prepare Your Bicycle for Spring

Step #1. Give your bike a scrub.

Not only will cleaning your bike make it look like new again; a clean bike is a well-functioning bike. Leaving dirt and grime on your bike for a long period of time makes it look uncared for, but caked-on dirt and grime can actually degrade the parts of your bike, so it’s important to clean it off every so often.

In addition to making your bike look pretty and protecting it from degradation, giving your bike a quick bath will also help to inspire you to get out and ride it! It can be difficult to find motivation with everything going on, and any little bit helps at a time like this.

Step #2. Clean and lubricate the chain.

Your bike’s chain is essential and should be taken care of properly. If your chain is dirty, worn out, or rusty, it’s not going to do you any favors and will likely make pedaling much more difficult than it has to be.

If there’s any muck or grime on your chain, gently wipe it off with a washcloth. Then, lightly grease your chain with chain oil. This will help to keep it moving smoothly. If your chain is looking rusty or worn out, it might be time to get it replaced.

Step #3. Manually test your gears.

When your gears are running easily and smoothly, it makes your ride better and helps you get more power every time you pedal. Before you pull your bike out for spring, you’ll want to ensure that its gears are working perfectly.

Turn your bicycle upside down, and shift your bike into each gear while manually pedaling it with your other hand. Watch out for any signs of sticking gears or wear and tear.

Step #4. Check your tires.

Visually inspect your tires carefully, checking to ensure that the rubber hasn’t worn down in certain areas or there are signs of any damage, like cracking. When you spin your tires, it’s important that they spin smoothly with no signs of wobbling.

If your tires are worn down or damaged, you may need to replace them. If not, make sure they are properly inflated before riding your bicycle. Check for the recommended air pressure on the tire itself.

Step #5. Make sure your brakes are in good shape.

From a safety standpoint, brakes are one of the most important features on your bicycle, and it’s imperative to ensure that they’re working properly before you get your bike out for spring. When you pull the brake levers, they should engage the both sides of the brake pads on both wheels.

If the brake is working properly, it should fully stop the tire in motion without sticking. If the brake cable is sticky or frayed, it should be replaced. If the rubber on the brake pads is worn down, they should be replaced.

Find a bike shop near you with Top Rated Local®!

These bicycle maintenance tips are a great place to start, but in some cases, professional bicycle services may be required. If that’s the case, you can find a great local bike shop to work with near you with Top Rated Local.

Depending on where you live, there may or may not be bike shops open for business, but even in states where they’re not considered to be essential businesses, many are offering remote repair and maintenance services that you could take advantage of.

Find bicycle maintenance and repair near you today!