The popularity of cycling has grown in recent years thanks to a number of factors. For one, the pandemic brought attention to the importance of getting outside and staying active. But even before COVID-19, growing congestion and the cost of parking in big cities has increasingly prompted people to cycle to and from home and encouraged cities to improve their bike lane infrastructure.
It’s a big reason why, rolling into 2020, more than one in three Canadians were cycling on the road, with sale of bikes increasing 130% in the first two months of 2021.
With so many of us pedaling around, it’s essential to prevent unsafe conditions and breakdowns if possible. Here are five maintenance tips to keep in mind:
1. Bike wash: Just as you do with your car, it’s important to keep your bicycle clean. Mud, grease, and other dirt can wear away at your bike’s mechanical parts. So, get your two wheels into the driveway and bring a bucket of water, soap, a sponge, and a toothbrush to get into the bike’s chain, pedals, and brakes.
2. Check the tires: One of the most common and annoying bike problems is a flat tire — there’s no shortage of glass, goatheads and pinch flats to ruin your tires. Inadequate pressure can also compromise your ride. Check your tire pressure regularly and inspect the tires regularly for damage or wear that may cause them to go flat or burst.
3. Check the brakes: Brake pads unavoidably wear down over time and some riders brake more often than they should, wearing pads in no time. To see if your brakes are due for a replacement, pump them as you ride — if they’re feeling soft, it may be time for a service visit.
4. Lube the chain: Ideally, you should wipe your bike chain after every ride. To add lubrication, drip a small amount and wipe off any excess — too much can draw dirt and dust. If you find a buildup of grease on your chain, try a chain cleaner.
5. Visit the bike shop: Just as you would your car, it’s a good idea to have your bicycle serviced at least once a year. An experienced bike mechanic can provide a thorough inspection, make minor adjustments, and call out any problems waiting to happen.
Are you a recreational cyclist? Do you bike to work? Please share your tips and tricks to keeping your wheels in tip top shape with the Shop Talk blog community!
Did you know: Fixing a flat tire
The last thing you need is to get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. Check out this video to learn how to do it yourself.