The most expensive piece of equipment that a triathlete owns is a bike. Sometimes we even own more than one. Bringing your bikes to the shop for every minor issue quickly becomes time consuming and costly. I was lucky enough to work in a bike shop for 4 years where I learned the basic and with three of them at home, I still have the chance to develop my skills. I’m not going to lie there is a few things I don’t do: like bleeding hydraulic brakes, truing the wheels or dealing with internal cabling. I’m not an expert but I want to give you three tricks to keep your bikes out of the shop.
Trick #1 – Clean your bike often
Seriously, keep your bike clean! A clean bike is a fast bike! I always keep a spray bottle filled with water and a bit of dish soap beside my tools. A quick wipe of the bicycle will make it possible to see some issues that would require some more attention before they get worse, for example a cable missing a cap – it easier to replace the cap right away than to change a frayed cable later. Also all our sticky sport drinks can damage components like your derailleurs and brakes so by cleaning your bike often you help your bike functioning the way it should. And like I said earlier, we spend so much money on the bikes, we might as well show them off by keeping them shiny.
Trick #2 – Clean your chain before adding any lubricant
Clean your chain before lubricating it again. So many people keep adding a layer of lubricant before each ride, which might help in the short run but over time you will get a very gummy not so well running drivetrain. The simple and quick way would be to take a rag and hold the chain while you pedal with your other hand (works better on stand, upside down or if you pedal in the reverse direction ), if you don’t have the time to de-grease and clean your chain properly. Once the chain is free from all the grime, now it is time to apply the new lubricant, wait a few minutes and then remove the extra the same way as you previously cleaned the chain, but don’t hold as tightly this time.
Trick #3 – Always check your tires
Another very simple but very important bike maintenance tip is to keep your tire pressure up. I check my air pressure before almost every ride. Make sure to read the recommended pressure for your tire (it is usually written on the sidewall of your tire). The right pressure will help prevent flats and absorb shocks from the road, protecting you and the bike from the vibration of the road.
As promised, these three tricks are very easy to follow, but by doing them regularly, you will prevent your bike constantly being brought to the shop. Take care of your bike and stay safe!