Give Your Bike Some Love: A Guide to Caring for Your BFF
The bike is not only the most expensive piece of racing equipment, its also where you spend the most time. But how long do you spend taking care of it? Bike care can be overwhelming but if you take a little bit of time now you will save yourself some heartache down the road! Read on for a brief review of the basics and our recommendations on how to maintain your road or tri bike.
Clean it Up
Although dependent on your local weather and how often you take her out, a thorough bath about once a month is recommended. Use a soft bristle brush, mild dish soap and water on every part of the bike except the chain. Make sure to get all that salt off! This is especially vital for those living near the ocean but something everyone should keep in mind.
What about that chain, though? Start by wiping it off with a clean, dry rag. Then wet a small area of the rag with lube and distribute evenly along the chain. Use just a little, and use it often. Don't have a clue about lube or looking to try something new? Check out this list from Daily Tech. Number seven is my go-to!
I spy with my little eye...again, this should be part of your monthly routine (at least!) to avoid any unforeseen issues or costs. Take a good, hard look at your life--I mean, your bike...
Frame: Touch up any dings with clear nail polish to prevent further damage.
Brakes: The pads should be lined up with the rim and in working order. Test them and ensure they are replaced as needed.
Tires: Keep inflated to proper PSI, check for glass and/or debris. Not sure what PSI your tires should be at? Me neither. Get all the details in this article from Bicycling.com.
Wheels: These are the most sensitive part (aw) of your bike and should be treated as such. Inspect for bent rims or a punctured tube.
The Drop Test: If all else fails, drop it off a cliff. JK. Stand back, take yet another look, and if all seems to be well its time for the final test. Simply pick up your bike a few inches from the ground, then let it drop evenly on both wheels. If nothing falls off or rattles around, you're good to go!
One of the most important aspects of bicycle care is where you store it. Indoor storage is ideal considering moisture in the air is your bike's arch nemesis. A storage area with A/C (ooh la la!) is best in theory, but for most of us not realistic. Do your best to keep your bike away from the elements and out of harm's way by investing in a mount. You can literally mount or store it on any flat surface. There are wall mounts, ceiling mounts, floor mounts...learn more about bike storage here. I like to hang mine from the rafter beams in my garage via two big hooks.
Whether you're on your third Ironman this year or just enjoy whiskey & watts, your bike is always there for you. So don't leave her out in the cold!
If you're a new cyclist, was this information helpful? Experienced riders, did we miss anything? Tell us in the comments below!
Written by Ashley Pettigrew
Follow Ashley on Instagram! @ashley.trisirena
The following resources were utilized in this article:
* "Are You Taking Proper Care of Your Expensive Road Bike?". Bicyclelab.com. http://bicyclelab.com/are-you-taking-proper-care-of-your-expensive-road-bike/. 2017 May.
* Mccormack, Lee. "How to Achieve the Perfect Bike Tire Pressure". Bicycling.com. http://www.bicycling.com/maintenance/tires/yourtires-air. 2010 April.
* REI Staff. "Bike Storage: How to Choose". REI. https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/bike-storage.html. 2016 July.
* "Top Ten Best Bike Chain Lubes in 2017 Reviews". Top Best Product Reviews. http://www.topbestproductreviews.com/top-10-best-bike-chain-lube-reviews/. 2017 May.