Keeping Your Bike in Tip-Top Shape

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Bikes have always been a popular way to get around, but the growing trend of hip, vintage gear has created a burgeoning new interest in biking. Health consciousness has also played a big part in the bike trend. Triathlon bikes, designed specifically for those amazing triathletes, have earned a great deal of recognition among those looking to hit the road for fun or competition. Triathlon bike rentals are available in numerous local bicycle shops in San Diego as well.

As fun and freeing as riding a bike is, they are machines that require maintenance, just like a car. Here are a few tips to keep your bike in prime shape.

Unchained

The bike chain is potentially the most important part of any bike. It’s what connects the gears to the wheels. Taking care of your bike’s chain will help you avoid all sorts of problems.

Cleaning your chain of any dirt and debris is easy and shouldn’t even require you to remove the chain from the bike. If the chain isn’t too grimy, gently spray it with a lubricant specific for bike chains. Avoid using WD40 as this can actually attract more dirt and grime later. Gently apply a bike-safe detergent or degreaser and then wipe it down gently with a clean cloth. If the dirt is really clogging the chain, you may want to consider purchasing a chain bath.

Lubrication is what keeps the chain and the rest of the bike working smoothly. Lubricate the chain often. If you ride daily, you should oil the chain about once a week in the winter and once every two weeks in summer.

Tired Out

The tires are what make contact with the concrete and carry you forward. A bad tire can lead to numerous problems and accidents. Incorrect tire pressure is one of the prime reasons for why bicycles get damaged. The wheels won’t work to their full potential with too little or too much pressure. Keep your tires pumped enough so that the least tread surface touches the road. Road bike tires go soft after about a week, mountain bikes after a month. Assess your tires’ pressure levels regularly.

Punctures are a big problem. Your local bike shop should be able to fit anti-puncture tape between the tire and inner tube or provide anti-puncture sealants to close up any small holes. To prevent punctures, make sure to check your tires at the end of every ride and remove any glass, thorns, pebbles, and other bits of debris that might cause problems. Pay attention to any wobbly wheels that might need adjustments.

As a precaution, carry a spare inner tube and puncture repair kit with you when you ride. And when replacing your new inner tube, make sure to double check the inside of your tire to make sure you don’t have any thorns or other objects that can poke into your new inner tube. Carefully run your fingers through the tire all around in one direction, then check it the other direction (thorns can sometimes wedge in sideways so you may not feel it until you swap directions).

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