Some helpful hints that will make your cycling experience better. A few tips from Markus Seppälä with some DIY cycling tips.
- Keep the drivetrain clean and lubricated with bike chain oil, you save loads of money.
You will need disposable rags, bike oil, some degreaser product and maybe a used toothbrush. Get all the dirt you possibly can get off the chains, sprockets and chainwheels. After everything is nice and clean, turn the cranks slowly backwards and simultaneously apply a drop of bike oil on the inside of every link on your chain. The more often you clean and lube, the less time it takes every time you do it. Why not clean the frame and wheels while you’re at it?
- Keep your tires inflated!
The most important thing, or at least in the top three, that have an effect on the quality of your bike ride is tire pressure. If the pressure is too low you have to work a lot more to keep the same speed than with proper high pressure. And you will get flats more easily. One of the most essential must-have tools you should own is a quality floor pump with pressure gauge. Check the suggested pressure from the side of your tires. Make sure you check your tire pressure at least once every two weeks.
- Keep the nuts and bolts tight, but don’t overtighten them
Keep all the screws, bolts and nuts in your bike where they belong by checking regularly if they are loose. It is annoying if you loose the screw holding your mudguards in place and having to listen that rattling and banging sound all the way home.
- Make sure your brakes are adjusted correctly
If you like to drive fast , you’d better make sure you stop effectively when needed. If you have to pull the brake lever until it touches the handlebar and still almost nothing happens, you have to adjust the brake pads closer to the rim (or your disc).
You can do this by tightening the adjusting barrel (if your brakes have one) in the brake lever or the brake arm end. Tightening the screw moves the pads closer to the rim (or disc). You may also need to unscrew the bolt holding the wire, tighten the wire and then screw the bolt back on. Before tightening the bolt again, twist the adjuster holding the wire and the wire housing to the loosest setting. This way you have more room to adjust the brakes.
It is also important to keep both the pads and the braking surface clean from dirt and oil. So don't get oil or dirt/mud on the pads or disc.
- Learn how to fix a flat tube
You probably guessed that fixing a flat tire would make the list? You were right. Youtube has tons of good videos in all languages guiding you how to prepare and change a tube. First check a video on how to remove a tire from the rim and how to put it back on. You will need two plastic tire levers and some patience. You will get better. If you start getting many flats with the same wheel, check your tire and the inside of the rim for sharp objects or "out of round" tire.
So, there you are. Master these skills and practice them often. As a result your rides will become more enjoyable, not to mention safer.
<If you have a very tight time schedule, let your local bike shop do it for you. It's kind of obvious when you think about it: take care of your bike and it will take care of you. Enjoy.>