Maintenance: The First Step Towards Bike Safety
As with all the gizmos we have today, your your bike is predisposed to reduced performance as a result of use. Many things can contribute to this, such as exposure to different weather conditions, frequency of use, and how hard you push it. But the good news is that there are simple things that you can do to prevent damage and maintain your bike in top condition for safe riding all year long.
There are some things that may be too complicated for the average user to comfortably do themselves. This is where a bike mechanic would come in handy. However, just as with automobiles, you should be able to accomplish quick fixes and simple maintenance yourself.
So what are the things that you can do to make sure that your bicycle stays in great shape?
Tires are the lifeblood of any bicycle. They are, after all, what connects you to the road. As such, they are the first thing that you should be concerned about checking. Always keep the manual that came with your bike. It can be a wealth of useful information for you. For instance, do you have any idea about what the ideal pressure is for your tires? Well, the manual should be able tell you this.
Tire inflation is the first thing that you should check. The general state of your tires comes in a close second. Look for any cracking or signs of wear in the treads. Also, make sure that the rims aren't twisted and are free from large dents. Lift your bike up and spin the wheels. Be sure they aren't wobbly and glide smoothly along.
Never ride on wheels that look to be unstable, no matter how much you want to go out that day. This is a huge safety concern and should be remedied immediately. While you're at it, be sure to take a look at the spokes as well to see if they should be changed or not.
After that's taken care of, the next thing to look into would be the body of the bike. Be sure that the handlebars are securely attached. Verify that it's at the right height as well. They should be comfortable to grip when you're riding the bicycle. You should not have to stretch too much or be in a weird position to hold on to them. Ideally, they would be where your hands naturally rest while you're sitting on the saddle.
Also be sure that the handlebar stem is pushed in up to its minimum insertion line. For ideal positioning, the handlebar should also line up well with your front wheel. You should be able to spin them around in the front fork.
Be sure that all the bolts on the bicycle are tight. Also check the pedals to make sure that they are properly secured. The last thing you want is for things to start falling off your bike on a bumpy road.
Another critical part of this apparatus are the brakes. Squeeze both levers. Now see if you can move your bike in any direction. If you can move it with depressed brake levers or you see that they are touching the handlebars then it's safe to say that your brakes are too loose and you would do well to adjust them.
The last thing you want look into is the bike chain. Make sure it's clean and is well lubricated. You should also remove any excess dirt. If you find that too much grease has built up, then you might also want to use a degreaser on it to give it a good cleaning. After you clean it, be sure to lubricate the chain again. Ideally, the chain should move smoothly, as with everything else on your bike.
All that you need to perform all of these are a few basic tools. Inspect your bike properly and regularly, it'll be safe and enjoyable to ride for many years to come.