Maintenance 101: Quick Guide to Bicycle Repairs
Riding a bike is fun… until it breaks down in the middle of nowhere. You might suddenly find yourself needing to hitch a ride or walk hundreds of miles home just because your bicycle gets damaged.
This is why it’s important to have basic repair skills for your bike before getting into a long-distance ride. Don’t worry, most of these troubleshooting procedures don’t require hardware and electrical skills. Anyone can do it anytime and anywhere!
Before the repair
Before getting into your troubleshooting skills, it’s important to know that a pre-ride check up is always better than doing a repair. As the cliche goes–prevention is better than cure.
Here are the essential pre-ride check ups that you should do:
- Ensure complete bike accessories such as bike lights, navigation, app, etc.
- Go through your bottom bracket and headset
- Check the air of your tires
- Check the tension of your wheels and spokes
- Secure a top-post bag with basic repair tools such as air pump, screw driver, wrench, etc.
Fixing a flat tire
Just like any vehicle, fixing a flat tire on your bike is the first repair skill that you should learn. Fortunately, it's also one of the easiest things on our list.
Most of the time, it's best to just bring a compact tire pump with you to replace the flat one, then find and fix the hole when you get home. Pro tip: If you bring a CO2 cartridge to quickly inflate your tire, be sure to deflate it and replenish it with a floor pump when you get home, otherwise you'll end up with a flat the next time you ride your bike.
Reattaching a slipped chain
A snagged chain may turn a pleasurable ride into a nightmare. Putting the chain back on, on the other hand, is a breeze and takes no equipment at all!
A chain usually slips out of the back cogset and/or the front chainring when it breaks (part of the crank). When this happens, replace the chain in the bottom groove of the rear cog.
After that, drape the chain over the teeth on the top of the front chainring after it's linked to the cog. Lastly, reattach the link between the rear cogset and the front chainring. Slowly move the pedal forward after the chain is in the proper position, which will draw the chain around the entire chainring and back to the cogset.
Changing brake pads
Would you allow your car's brake pads to wear out beyond their authorized wear-and-tear? The same is true for your bicycle: Because those little rubber blocks are constantly in touch with friction from your tire, they wear down over time—and worn brake pads aren't ideal while you're speeding down a slope.
The type of brake pads you have on your bike may vary based on the type of brakes you have, but the principle is the same. Because working brakes are critical to your personal safety, it's critical to inspect them on a regular basis and replace them when they show signs of wear. It's a straightforward fix, and a fast YouTube video will explain you through it––just Google "change brake pads" with the type of brakes on your bike to get started.
A road bike's handlebars can get sticky, smelly, and worn out after a season of pedaling excursions in rain, mud, and sleet, making it an unpleasant cycling experience. Fortunately, rewrapping the handlebars with new tape is simple!
Start by removing that obnoxious old tape, using scissors if necessary. Most tape sets include two additional pieces of tape; place these beneath both brake levers to ensure that the brake equipment and the handlebar are completely sealed. Begin by wrapping the tape around the bottom of the lowered end of the handlebar, with the tape's edge on the underside. Wrap securely and smoothly around the top of the handlebar in a clockwise motion. Make sure to overlap the borders as you go so the wrapping doesn't have any gaps.
When you arrive at the brake levers, flip the plastic covers up and gently wrap the tape around the handlebar — there should be no gaps in the tape because the tape scraps are already on that section of the bike. When one side of the tape is wrapped around the center point of the handlebars, cut it off and fix the edge by wrapping it once or twice with electrical tape. Then, on the opposite side, repeat the operation and go on the road!