The right way to maintain your bicycle

The right way to maintain your bicycle is to undertake regular protective and preventive maintenance. Some of this work can be done by you while some work may require the skills of a professional cycle repair man. The bicycle parts that require regular inspection, oiling and greasing are tires, brakes, wheels, handlebar and chain.

The tires take the maximum load and pressure, and need to be inflated as per the manufacturer’s specifications. Besides air pressure, tires need to be inspected for any signs of ripping or wear and tear. The wheels too need regular tuning and adjustment, and should be checked for dents and twists that may happen on account of collision with hard objects or falls. The best way to check a wheel is to turn it fast and watch. The wheel should spin without shaking from side to side. If it does, make sure to tighten it. The spokes similarly must be tight and fixed firmly to the rims. The spokes transmit pressure and, when damaged, must be replaced immediately.

The handlebar is like the steering wheel of a car, and a key component in maneuvering the bicycle. It needs to be adjusted to produce best results. The first adjustment is the height. It should neither be too high nor too low, but must be so placed that you can hold it comfortably. It should be properly aligned with the front wheel, for swerves or smooth changes in direction. Equally important is the front fork. It stabilizes the handlebar and should be securely fastened to the handlebar post. The pedals should be checked to see that that they are tightly secured.

The brakes are most important for a cyclist’s safety and must be checked regularly. To check the brakes, squeeze them and roll the bike ahead. If the brakes are working, the brake pad will stay squarely on the rim without touching the tire and the wheels will not roll. If the brake levers, when pressed, touch the handlebar, it means the brake cables are loose. Tighten them or change them if they are frayed.

The chain needs to be lubricated for swift and smooth movement. It should also be cleaned regularly with a de-greaser to remove the dirt that accumulates on the grease. You must remember to put fresh grease once the old grease has been removed. This will stop the chain from jumping the teeth or getting stuck.

You don’t need any hi-tech tools to keep your cycle in prime riding condition. All that you need is the time and the desire to keep it fit.

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