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Bicycle Maintenance Basics

Bicycling is a popular pastime that many of us enjoy. Taking your bike out for a ride on the roads or trails is a fun way to get around town and a great alternative to driving. Like any vehicle though, a bicycle must be properly and regularly maintained. Whether you are a competitive cyclist, a casual commuter, or a weekend joyrider, there are some key guidelines that you can follow to make sure your bicycle is safe for every ride.

The ABC Quick Check

Before every ride, there are a few safety checks that you should make to ensure that your bicycle is road ready. The phrase “ABC Quick Check” will help you remember the basics to cover each time:

  • A: Air pressure. Check your tires to make sure they are fully inflated. If you can press in on your tire at all, it doesn’t have enough air. The recommended air pressure for your tires is written on the sidewall. Maintaining this air pressure helps to prevent a flat tire during your ride.
  • B: Brakes. Always test your brakes before beginning a ride. Both foot brakes and hand brakes should be checked to make sure you can stop suddenly if need be. If you see that you have worn out brake pads, loose or over-tight brakes, or a worn brake cable, take care of these issues before going out for a ride.
  • C: Chain. Your chain should be taut around the gears, not loose enough that it could fall off. If you have multiple speeds, make sure you can switch gears without trouble. Apply chain lube to your chain links if your chain begins to feel inflexible, and check for signs of rust. Even a small amount of rust can hinder your bike’s performance and interfere with other components.
  • Quick: Quick Release. Quick release wheels can sometimes come undone if they are not attached and tightened properly. Check regularly to make sure the lever has not been bumped out of place. The quick release lever should be tight and pressed down so that it rests parallel with the wheel.
  • Check: Check the rest of the bike. Look for any problems with your wheels, handlebars, seat, pedals, or frame.

On the Road Maintenance

If you plan to go on rides longer than a mile or so, you may want to carry an emergency repair kit with you. Small tool kits that you can carry in a pouch on your bike are available at any local bike store, which usually include a few bike tools such as Allen wrenches or hex keys, a spare tire, and a few tire patch kits. You may also want to get a hand pump for inflating your tires on the go.

If You are in an Accident

These basic maintenance tips can help prevent common bicycle accidents that may result in serious injury. Accidents that involve negligent drivers, however, may be unavoidable for even the most careful cyclists. If you or someone you know has been in a bicycling accident involving another vehicle, contact the Waukesha personal injury lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® today at 800-242-2874.