There are a lot of things to do, and a few things to avoid, when taking care of your bike. Today we cover how to clean your bike, and even through in a few maintenance tips on keeping your bike safe.
Reasons To Clean Your Bike
There are a lot of reasons to keep your bike well maintained. First of all, they are expensive. That alone should be reason enough, but if it’s not, the second reason to keep your bike maintained is to protect yourself from injury. It’s true… you can have an accident at any time doing something dumb, but a well maintained bike is less likely to cause an accident due to a mechanical failure.
So the first thing I do when I am putting some serious maintenance on the bike is to clean it from top to bottom. If you give your bike a thorough cleaning, you can spot the signs of wear and tear much sooner to prevent an accident. Your bike will not suffer from as much wear and tear if it properly maintained. So the cleaning is really two parts. You’re cleaning your bike and inspecting it at the same time.
Yakima Bike Rack… Best Bike Stand?
I like to clean our bikes while they are hanging on our Yakima bike rack. I really like this rack. It’s incredibly sturdy. We have hauled the bikes from Colorado to California and back without issue. My dislike is that it’s a pain getting the smaller framed bikes on here. If you’re looking for the hitch style bike rack this one is definitely solid. If you can splurge a little on a different styled bike rack I would recommend it. For those of us on a budget, the Yakima bike rack works fine.
When my bike is clean I address anything I found when inspecting it. Since my Trek FX 2 is still fairly new I hope nothing comes up. Check out my Trek FX 2 review here. Once the bike has passed an initial visual inspection I move on to checking the bolts. This is when having a good multi-tool is a real asset. I can check all the bolts for my seat post, accessories, brakes, you name it. From top to bottom I make sure everything is snug. Its important to remember not to over tighten though. I find its easiest to start at the handlebars working my way down and towards the rear wheel. I repeat this process every time to make sure I don’t miss anything.
Bike Chain Maintenance
Next, I thoroughly inspect the chain. I make sure it isn’t gummed up with junk. If it is I clean it with a degreaser. If everything looks good and clean I will add some chain lube. Since the chain lube is already out I also use it to lube the brake and derailleur cables and levers. Whatever you do, don’t get any lube on the discs for your brakes. Those need to stay dry to have optimal braking performance.
For wheel maintenance I simply make sure both tires have the proper PSI. If I am mountain biking I like to run them a little low because I think it makes them feel a little more grabby, but the road bikes I run at the recommended PSI for my tires.
Finally, I make sure to properly store the bikes. Our garage is usually a mess, and that can make it tough, but your bike needs to be stored in a way that reduces the risk of something bumping into it or falling on it. I’d recommend a hanging rack if you have the space.
Here is a video on how to clean your bike:
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