Maintenance is key to prolonging the life of your bike and your safety. Last night on my way home I had a close call because of my lack of maintenance.

I was riding home on kept hearing a weird rattling soun. coming from my rear wheel/drivetrain. Not sure what was causing it and nothing really seemed to be working improperly at the time I continued home with out really stopping to check everything. There were a couple more incidents of rattling and chain skipping but nothing that really set off alarm bells for me.

. make it home and pick up my bike, turn it around to put it away for the night and the rear wheel rattles. Hmmmm… That’s not right I thought. I reach down check the wheel and it is definitely loose. Turns out the nuts holding the rear wheel in had come loose because I did not check to make sure they were still tight after my first few rides. I had been riding with a loose rear wheel for more than 4 miles, that I knew of.. If I had ridden much further and hit and bumps, gone off a curb or something like that I could have had a serious crash possibly injuring my and damaging my bike.

Moral of the story, be sure to periodically check all the fasteners on you bike from top to bottom. Also, one of the best tools you can have in you tool box is a torque wrench. Every bike and component manufacturer now has recommended torque settings for practically every fastener and that should be adhered to in order to prolong the life of you equipment.

Here are a couple places for inforamtion on maintaining you bike.

Shimano Tech Documents
Park Tools Bike Repair Tips
And the always popular Sheldon Brown

Sign up for our Adventure-Packed Newsletter

Get our latest touring, commuting and family cycling posts and sales delivered to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

0 thoughts on “Maintenance”

  1. Peter Wang says:

    If you get a good set of bike-specific tools, and learn how to do much of the maintenance yourself, you will save so much time and money. It’s one of the most worthwhile things a bike commuter can learn.

    Top tasks to learn:

    1. Changing tires and patching tubes
    2. Detecting chain wear, cleaning / lubing and replacing chains
    3. Adjusting brakes and replacing brake cables, cable housing, and brake pads
    4. Adjusting derailleurs
    5. Doing minor wheel truing
    6. Detecting when wheel and crank bearings need to be serviced (even if you don’t do it yourself)

  2. Peter Wang says:

    Oh yeah… always do the “ABC Quick Check” before each and every ride!

  3. Chris Cashbaugh says:

    That is exactly what I forgot to do.

  4. xSmurf says:

    I have to admit I don’t check before every ride, but I inspect, fully wash and re-oil the bike every week or two (winter riding, commuting a minimum of 4 days a week, 10Km per commute). I don’t think my bike has ever loved me so much. I also pass over the frame and parts with a rag every two or three days just to remove the salt. Salt is your bike’s and your clothes’ ENEMY! For the winter riders out there there’s one thing I really check out as often as possible… dirty rims. Yeah it might sound silly but your breaks (if you have rim breaks that is) will be seriously affected by a crust on the rims, up to a point where you just won’t be breaking anymore. Take it front the guy who has a big ass slope opening on a *busy* street in front of his house. The enemy here accumulation and the only way to prevent that is to regularly clean the bike.

  5. Fritz says:

    Winter is the enemy of bike maintenance. I just want to get inside my home where it’s nice and warm and cozy, rather than spend any more time outdoors in the cold, wind and rain. Brrrr!

  6. xSmurf says:

    Dunno if it’s the looks on people’s face at -1°C (°F) or the rush, but I sort of enjoy it. Maybe it’s just me. But lots of people have noticed that despite the 215cm (98″) – record year – of snow that fell so far, there are more bikes on the streets than ever before. And that alone is enough to keep me warm (at least inside 😉

  7. xSmurf says:

    Oh yeah I forgot, winter biking is what made me want to start saluting other riders (tbh, I didn’t get the reaction I was looking for, still do it though)

    (Oh and that’s in Montreal, Qc)

  8. Yes Fritz, winter is the enemy. I have only done less than 10 ride this winter on my new bike and it already needs a good through cleaning, lube and check up. That is what i’ll be doing tomorrow and I’ll give a report.

  9. Andi says:

    For beginners there’s also quite a few video’s on how to maintain your bike it might be easier if they look at them. E.g.

  10. Jeff Moser says:

    In addition to the winter elements being hard on your bike, it’s also hard to find time to wash/maintain your bike with the short daylight hours. My On One needs some TLC, but the garden hose is under a foot of snow…

    Anyone have any luck asking their spouse permission to bathe their bike in the bathtub?

  11. Fritz says:

    Bike wash

    Not my winter bike, though 😉

    You do the cleaning during the warm spells.

  12. xSmurf says:

    Jeff, some of your LBS can also wash your bike for barely anything. (Mine does it for free whenever I bring it in for something else)

  13. r. says:

    I can’t fit my bike in my shower, but that’s awesome. I usually take the bucket of dish soap and toothbrushes to it. Then I run outside to my porch and douse it with a gallon of water and voila a clean bike. It looks like a Charlie Chaplin clip if it’s cold, and I’m sure my neighbors immensely enjoy the whole scene.

    I also keep a my tool kit in a ziplock bag, check the tire pressure, bolts, etc. the night before I leave. So far, I haven’t had too many problems. If your new to commuting, I highly recommend you take a basic maintenance class (at your local shop or co-op) or buddy up with a commuter. It also doesn’t hurt to get a thorn resistant tube for the back tire.

    Things I carry in my ziplock bag:
    –chain tool
    –adjustable wrench
    –15mm wrench
    –spoke wrench
    –patch kit
    –xtra tubes
    –duct tape
    –akaline batteries
    –rags and hand cleaner

Leave a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


20% off ALL Ortlieb Bag Closeouts! Shop Closeouts

Scroll to Top