Life Cycles is proud to promote volunteering by distributing bicycles to those in need of transportation. Often times children receive the bikes, but many are given to adults. They rely on the bike for getting around town and to their jobs. Whether you’re young or old, Life Cycles has a few maintenance tips to keep your new bike rolling down the road.
Cleaning the Life Cycles bicycle is crucial
Keeping a clean bike is the number one way to keep it operational. Dirt can get lodged into the drivetrain, and gears, causing skipping. Be sure to wash with water and either a specialty bike cleaner or mild dish detergent.
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Cleaning the bike will also keep the brake, and shift, cables clean and operating smoothly. Life Cycles recommends to wash your bicycle after every use, but if you don’t have time once a year is the bare minimum.
Listen to your Life Cycles bike
Maintaining a well-lubed drive train is the most essential part of a bike. Without the gears and chain, the bike would never move forward. Lube the drivetrain by dropping a dab of chain lube on each link pin as you pedal backward. This will work the lube into the chain. Lube your chain after each cleaning, or if the chain has become dry.
Gritty scraping sounds are an indicator of worn brake pads. Changing them out is recommended. However, a mushy feeling in your brakes is a simple maintenance issue. Remedy this by adjusting the barrel adjusters counter clockwise on the levers, or at the brake arms until the mushy feeling is gone.
Finally, you will want to tighten all the nuts and bolts on your bike. This is a quick process, but make sure you are using the right tools and the right measurements. Not all bikes have standard nuts and bolts as metric components have been instituted.
Not all of these maintenance tips need be applied at the same time, nor do they need to be used every ride. Here’s a schedule to help you remember which parts to check and how often.
Once a month:
- Check the shifting by cycling through all the gears while on a small bike ride.
- Check the brakes by squeezing them both on flat ground and going down hill.
- Lube the brake and shift cables, wheels’ axle, and fork sliders (suspension)
Every 3 Months:
- Check brake pads for wear. Make sure grooves are still present.
- Inspect the chain ring and the cogs for any wear.
- Tighten all nuts and bolts
- Grease the seat post.
Every 6 Months:
- Deep clean the drive train
- Replace, and lube, the chain
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This schedule coupled with regular cleaning will keep your bicycle in top performance mode. You should have no problem getting where you want to go if you follow the guidelines set out here.