In the same way that it’s important to have regular car services, it’s important to service your bicycle to ensure it’s safe to use, working efficiently and free from damage.
Check your brakes
Your brakes are the most important safety measure on your bicycle, so it’s always a good idea to check they’re working properly before you set out on every ride. Get a professional to check your brakes twice a year and undertake any adjustments or repairs that may need doing.
If you’ve been doing maintenance work on your bike which has involved lubricating any part of your bike, be very careful to avoid getting any lubricant on your wheel rims or brake pads and discs as this will prevent your brakes from working, making your bike dangerous to ride.
Over time, your bicycle chain will become stretched and suffer from wear and tear. How this happens or how long it will take before the chain needs replacing is dependent on you, how you ride your bike and its condition. So it’s a good idea to check the chain on a regular basis to make sure it’s in good condition - a stretched chain will not only damage the gear cassette, but will also slip when you change gear and put pressure back on the pedals.
Punctures are the bane of cyclists’ lives - even professional cyclists have punctures which can - and have - cost them the race. But even if you’re just cycling for pleasure, you don’t want to have a puncture when you’re miles from anywhere. One way to prevent a puncture is to keep your tyres pumped up as this means they’ll wear down less quickly and be roadworthy for longer. Being at optimum pressure will improve their performance as well as give you a better ride. Remember that if your car tyres aren’t at the right pressure, you’ll use more petrol because the engine has to work harder to maintain the same speed. Given that you’re the engine on a bicycle (or part-engine on an e-bike), the same applies to you! So to save yourself from unnecessary hard work, check your tyre pressure on a weekly basis, and always make sure your tyres are properly inflated before you set out on a long bike ride.
Keep it clean folks!
Safety aside, if you don’t maintain and service your bike, you’ll notice the difference because a poorly maintained bike will be harder to ride. When the chain and other moving parts are clean and well lubricated, pedalling is a lot easier. By regularly cleaning the chain, you’ll get rid of any grit from the road that is bound to fling up into it and get stuck. The bonus is that you’ll also prevent your chain from getting damaged and it will therefore last longer. First of all, clean the chain using a cloth and a water repellent such as Muc-off Drivetrain Cleaner, then use a brush to get in between the links where grit and dirt are most likely to be. And when you’ve finished, use a water-repellent spray on the parts to stop rust forming.
If you’ve been cycling in wet and possibly muddy conditions, it’s as important to clean your bike afterwards as it is to clean yourself! So before you jump in the shower, clean the dirt off your bike to lessen the chance of dirt becoming stuck and causing damage or rust.
The membership organisation Cycling UK has free downloadable guides and instruction videos to help you check and maintain your bike to ensure it’s safe and in good working order. Alternatively, book your bicycle into our workshop for repairs or servicing by using the online booking form, alternativly you can book by phone on 01992 536007 or emailing email@example.com.