Bicycle Maintenance

Maintaining your bicycle and your gear on a regular basis will increase your safety odds and decrease your chances of being stranded on the side of the road. Bicycle maintenance doesn't have to be rocket science—although it can come close to it for some enthusiasts. The main goal is to get everything functioning as it should when it should.

Here are some basics.

Every Ride:

  • Make sure your tires are inflated properly.
  • Check for tire wear and quality (if you can see cords, replace the tire) before and after.
  • Examine brake functioning (proper cable tension and pad alignment).
  • Inspect the handlebars and stem for cracks and tightness.
  • Check the wheels for true.
  • Be sure that quick release skewers are tight.
  • Clean parts as necessary.

Weekly:

  • Lubricate the chain.
  • Check that cleat screws are tight.

Monthly:

  • Clean the bike thoroughly, including the drive train, and check for wear and breakage.
  • Inspect and lubricate the brake levers, derailleurs and all cables.
  • Examine spokes, hubs, headset and bottom bracket adjustment and tightness.
  • Inspect saddle, seat clamp, aero bar, base, handlebars and seat post binder bolt for tightness.
  • Lubricate brake, shifter and pedal pivot points.
  • Check for any loose nuts and bolts.
  • Replace tires as necessary.

Quarterly:

  • Examine brake functioning thoroughly.
  • Clean and wax frame, and check for signs of damage.
  • Be sure toolkit is sufficient.
  • Clean the drive train.

Semi-Annually:

  • Clean and lube seat post and quill stem (only if non-carbon fiber) as well as cables and housings.
  • Replace tires, if necessary.
  • Inspect handlebar tape and replace, if necessary.

Annually:

All of the above, plus a complete overhaul—disassemble, clean, lube and adjust everything for proper functioning.

Even avid cyclists need a tune up on maintaining their bicycles. Some even leave it to the experts. Check with your local bike shop for maintenance services or any classes they may hold or may know of in your area. The internet is also a great source for bike maintenance classes, such as those listed below.

Bici Centro
Bicycle Kitchen
Bike Oven
Bike Oven—East Los Angeles
Helen's Cycles
Incycle
Metropolis Bikes
Montrose Bike Shop
Orange 20 Bikes
The Bicycle Tree
The Bikerowave
Win's Wheels

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