Posts Tagged ‘bike maintenance tips’
Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
The following is a post from Mee Cheng from Bike Walk Twin Cities.
Last winter, I took a free 5-week Basic Maintenance course taught by Micah Thompson, who works at Cycles for Change bike shop in Saint Paul. The course was offered through Experimental Community Education of the Twin Cities (EXCO). Thanks to Micah, I now know how my bicycle works and how to maintain it.
A bicycle is a relatively simple mechanical device – but it’s also important to have it adjusted correctly. If you are unsure of something or identify problems during any of the steps below, take the bike to a local bike shop or visit a local bike coop, where you can get expert advice and free do-it-yourself bike repair support.
Here are seven things you can do yourself to get your bike ready to ride again—with thanks to Jason Tanzman of Cycles for Change and Steve Clark of Bike Walk Twin Cities for their contributions:
1 - Tubes and tires. Inspect the tires, looking for any dry rot, cracking, or cuts. Inflate the tires to the recommended inflation pressure and see if they hold air. (Note: “Presta” valves require an adapter if you’re trying to use a gas station air hose.)
2 - Wheels. With the wheels in the bike, make sure that they are not loose; they should not move around in the frame. If your bike has them, check the quick release levers on both wheels to make sure they’re tight and in their “locked” position.
3 - Chain. If the chain is very dirty or muddy, take a rag and clean the chain thoroughly by running the chain through the rag while pedaling backwards. If the chain is dry or rusty, apply a chain lubricant to the chain. If the chain is so rusted it won’t move, you will need to replace the chain.
4 - Brakes. Try squeezing the brakes and feel whether they respond well. Try moving the bike forward and seeing if the wheels stop. If the brakes feel spongy or are non-responsive, your brakes will need further adjustment. Squeeze the brake levers and see how much room there is between the lever and the handlebars. Can you fit your thumb in between without the lever hitting it? If not, it’s time to tighten the cables. A simple counter-clockwise twist of the barrel adjustment bolt will often do the trick.
5 - Gears/Shifting. Standing next to the bike, have a friend hold the rear wheel off the ground while you turn the pedals and shift through all the different gears. The main thing is to make sure that the derailleurs shift relatively well and don’t throw the chain off of the gears.
6 - Cranks. Hold and wiggle both crank arms, checking for any looseness.
7- Test Ride. Carefully, ride the bicycle in a parking lot or side street area with little or no traffic. Gently but with increasing force, test the brakes, shifters, steering, etc., to make sure everything works properly before leaving the area. Make sure to wear your bike helmet!
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Downtown Journal. Now that Nice Ride bikes are tucked away for the winter, consider using the bus for your quick trips to lunch, meetings, doctor’s appointments, or shopping. Using Metro Transit is an ideal way
The following is a post written by Bri Whitcraft, Special Projects Coordinator, Bike Walk Twin Cities. It all started with a video as inspiration and a Tweet as declaration. (My mom thought it was a joke.) Map & Route From my home in South Minneapolis, I biked to St. Paul to borrow the trailer from
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Southwest Journal. Practical, affordable and surprisingly rewarding, winter bicycling has become increasingly popular in Minneapolis, recently named one of the top five cities in the nation for winter bicycle commuting by MetaEfficient. That’s amazing when