Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition offers bike maintenance tips for cyclists

by Linda Hubbard on September 8, 2020

In a recent Weekly Wheeler newsletter, the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition offered these maintenance tips for cyclists:

Since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in March, a bicycling boom has been evident across the country. Local bike shops are reporting huge increases in bike sales and maintenance requests to service bikes. If you’re in need of repair because you’re dusting off an aged, beat up, or previously well-loved bike, you’re not alone. The trouble is that riders are finding it difficult to get a quick tune up with many bike shops being booked up for weeks (don’t let this dissuade you from reaching out to them, though!).

Reported the Los Angeles Times: “Rainer Zaechelein, the owner of Menlo Park’s Menlo Velo, a small bike shop along El Camino, said in the 25 years he’s run the shop, he’s never been so busy. Waitlists for standard tune-ups, which usually book out no more than a day or two, are running four-plus weeks.”

However, if you’re in need of some basic maintenance tweaks, below are some tips that don’t require you to be a bike aficionado or even leave your home! And, you won’t need a shed of special tools to do them. Simple tools like hex wrenches, tire levers, and Philips and flathead screwdrivers, are all you need in many cases.

If you search the web for ‘bike maintenance’ you’ll find oodles of advice, articles, and videos. To make it easy, we’ve selected a few that are easy to follow and from reputable sources like Park Tool and the League of American Bicyclists. Park Tool has many videos you can scour through if you’re looking for more advanced tips. Below are just a few for basic knowledge and minor fixes.

BIKE FIT
Fitting and Adjusting Your Bike  – video

BASIC BIKE CHECK
ABC’s of Bike Check  – video

TIRES/WHEELS
How to Fix a Flat Tire on a Bicycle  – video
How to Remove and Install a Wheel on Your Bike  – video
How to Patch a Bicycle Inner Tube – video
Tire, Wheel and Inner Tube Fit Standards – article
Tip – Reuse or recycle your old tubes. Tubes are super versatile for all sorts of practical purposes  If you don’t find a use for them, Mike’s Bikes will recycle them for you.

BRAKES
Park Tool Guide to Rim Brakes – video
Rim Brakes – What Type of Brakes Do I Have?  – video
Linear Pull Brakes – Mounting and Adjustment  – video

SHIFTING
Guide to Derailleurs and Shifting: Introduction – video

CHAIN
Clean and Lube Your Chain – video

Tip:  70% Isopropyl Rubbing alcohol is a cheap and effective degreaser! No need to buy special stuff. Pour rubbing alcohol into an old rag and rub along your chain. You can also use an old toothbrush to get the sand and grit out.

Hopefully some of these tips will help get you on your bike in no time. Be sure to take a slow test ride after you make adjustments to ensure everything is working properly. Have fun, be safe and enjoy your ride!

InMenlo file photo of Rainer Zaechelein by Scott R. Kline (c) 2012

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