Safety - Maintenance

Image of Person with Bike

Maintenance Tips

Bicycle Safety starts with a properly maintained bicycle. For a list of bicycle maintenance classes and Do-It-Yourself Shops, please visit our Classes page. Below are some tips for things to check on your bike to ensure it is properly maintained:

Tires

  • Keep your tires properly inflated; tires lose air gradually over time. If your bike has been sitting around for a while and the tires are flat, chances are you just need to pump up your tires. The correct pressure is printed on the side of your tire.

Brakes

  • Your brakes should be tight enough so that when you apply the brakes the wheels do not turn. While standing next to the bike, apply the brakes and walk the bike slowly to see if the brakes are tight enough.

  • Squeaky brakes can be solved by adjusting the brake pads so the front of the pads are slightly toed in towards the rim. In other words, the front of the pads should be slightly closer to the rim than the rear of the pads.

Chain

  • A bike that has been sitting for a while needs chain lube to keep the shifting smooth. Apply a small amount of lube to the chain and wipe off the excess. Make sure to use a lube for bicycles, which can be found at your favorite bicycle shop. Click here for a detailed interactive bicycle graphic provided by Park Tool, listing a bike’s parts and articles related to their maintenance.

Wheels

  • Make sure the wheels are properly tightened to the frame. If your bike has quick release levers, tighten them so the lever can’t rotate on the frame. If you have bolts, make sure they are securely tightened.

Accessories

  • Lights - Don't be caught out in the dark without front and rear lights. As the time changes, dusk approaches sooner and cars have trouble seeing cyclists against the rising or setting sun. Check to make sure that your lights work.

  • Repair kit - You don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire and nothing to fix it. Know how to repair a flat tire on your bike. You should have a small kit that includes a tube.  Make sure the tube has the correct valve for your bike (there are two kinds).  You should also have a small multi-tool that has a wrench to take off your wheel, pump and tire levers to remove the tire from the rim.  These multi-tools are inexpensive and can be found at most bike shops.  Make sure to put any tools back in your kit after a repair so you don’t forget it next time.

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