Do you remember when you first realized how much you love bike riding? Maybe it was when you realized how much exercise you could get on your bike, or perhaps you most enjoy the chance to explore your area while reducing your carbon footprint. There are so many things to love about seeing the world on two wheels, including how affordable and easy it is to maintain a bike.
Enjoy many more miles and scenic rides by learning how to take great care of your bike. All you need is a bit of time and the right materials and tools to keep your ride looking and operating like new. Learn the fundamentals of bike maintenance to save money and spend more time behind the handlebars.
Charge Your Bike Light Properly
Bike lights help you ride safely and give you the assurance that comes with seeing everything around you clearly. For all the peace of mind bike lights provide you, why not repay them with some quality charging time?
After not charging your light for a few days or weeks, power it up fully before heading out for a ride, especially before long rides. One of the best bike lights for long-distance rides are lights with li-ion batteries. These batteries have a higher energy density, which means they can go longer between charges.
The newest and best flashlights, headlamps, and bike lights with li-ion batteries require recalibration every two to three months, so they give accurate readings. To recalibrate your bike light, let it discharge from 100% to about 10% before charging it completely. Recalibration lets the battery power meter determine how long the battery lasts and provides a more accurate reading of how much juice you have left.
Learn the ABCs of Bike Riding
Before every ride, review the ABCs of biking: air, brakes, chain.
Before hopping on your bike to enjoy some fresh air, make sure your tires have some! When bike tires have sufficient air in them, they’re less prone to going flat. If you aren’t sure how much air your tires need, check the sidewalls for the recommended pressure.
Once you’ve filled your tires, squeeze them to see what they feel like when properly inflated. Over time, you may be able to tell whether they need air by touch alone.
For your brakes, give your bike’s rear and front brake levers a gentle squeeze. They should engage smoothly and properly, and they shouldn’t touch the handlebars. If they do, that probably means you need to tighten your brakes.
Get into the habit of checking your bike’s brake pads. A quick visual inspection is all you need to know whether it’s time to change worn-down pads.
Moving on to C, inspect your bike chain and all its gears. Every two weeks or so, add lubrication to the chain to make it easier to change gears and protect your drivetrain. Depending on the climate in your area, you may need to lube your chain more often.
Every few months, remove your bike chain with a chain-removal tool to brush it and dunk it into a chain solvent. Let it soak in until most of the dirt’s gone, then use a rag to dry it before reinstalling it.
Clean Your Bike Regularly
How often you should clean your bike depends on how often you ride. Clean it every week or so if you ride it a lot, and every month if you don’t. By maintaining a consistent cleaning schedule, you protect your bike from premature wear and tear, rust, and corrosion.
Supplies you’ll need to clean your bike include clean rags, brushes, water, a degreaser, and a general cleaner. You can also use a bike stand to take off the wheels and turn the pedals to access the bike’s hard-to-reach parts.
Thankfully, you don’t need a lot of elbow grease to clean a bike. Most parts regain their shine after a thorough wipe-down with a clean rag. You may need to brush and scrub hard-to-clean components.
Enjoy all the benefits of bike riding by taking excellent care of your bike. A little time and a few tools are all you need to help your bike last longer and perform at its be