For the Love of Bikes: Basic Bike Maintenance

By Matthew Lovett
From the May 30, 2013 edition

Making sure your bike is always road-ready is easier than you may think. Maintaining a bike effectively comes down to the use of one major tool: a floor pump.

“The most basic tool is … a floor pump,” said Dan Monnig, owner of Paradise Garage. “Proper air pressure is going to be one of the key things when you go on a ride or really anywhere.”

Bike tubes are semipermeable, and thus its air pressure will need to be checked far more than the tires of a car. A number on the bike tire itself will dictate the appropriate air pressure.

In addition, you’ll be happy to have a tube repair kit on-hand when your tubes are in need of replacing or patching.

Even with this basic maintenance that can be done yourself, it’s important to get your ride tuned up regularly. Tune-ups not only adjust the bike’s braking and shifting, but also ensure that it’s safe to ride.

“I recommend getting your bike tuned up at least once a year,” Monnig said. “It’s going to make sure the wheels are straight and round [a process known as trueing.]”