Take Proper Care of Your Bicycle
is a simple
and enjoyable sport that requires nothing more then yourself and your
trusty bicycle. However the more you ride, the more important
it becomes to understand how your two wheeled vehicle works and how to
repair, fix it when it breaks down.
There are of course bicycle shops to help you with bike repairs, but
for those who
are interested in learning to fix a few minor (or major) components of
your bicycle, it can be a very rewarding investment towards your
sport. Besides saving you money, it will also give you a
greater understanding of how the bike functions.
Online information is widely available as well as online videos and
books. If you have the interest, it is not hard to find the
To get started you will need to acquire a few
Tools for Fixing a Flat
If you spend any amount of time cycling, sooner or later you are bound
to get a flat tire. If you are lucky, it will be a slow leak
that you will notice at home. If you are unlucky it will
happen suddenly, unexpectedly, in the middle of nowhere, when you have
an urgent appointment to attend to in an hour or when it is about to
rain. Assembling the tools for a tire replacement kit and
keeping it with you when you riding long distances is a good
All you need is:
help you to get the tire off the rim. You replace the
punctured tube with the new one and blow it up with the hand
pump. Some people like to bring two tire tubes with them or a
tire patch kit, just in case their new one also has a puncture in it,
but you really need to be having a bad day for that to happen.
- a hand
- a tire
lever (or two)
- and a
new tire tube
If you have a flat at home, that would be the time to use a tire patch
kit (which usually comes with instructions) to salvage your punctured
Bicycle Cleaning Tools
The first step in maintaining your bike is to regularly keep it clean.
You will of course need:
tools that are
- a few
- and a
remove the dirt and grind that builds up in the hard to reach places
and your bike will likely last a lot longer. This is
especially important for mountain bikers who spend time on rough, muddy
bicycle cleaning brush
Tools for Your Handlebars, Seat and Accessories
One of your best friends in bike repairs is going to be a set of Allen
keys (also called Hex keys). They are your keys for adjusting
not only your handlebars and seat, but also the gearing and breaking
stem, pump mount, bottle holder or any other accessory you may
have. These are extremely handy tools and not very expensive.
Tools for the Chain
Many people think the chain on a bike will last forever, and at best a
little oil may be needed. Unfortunately this is not true, and
if the chain is allowed to get too worn down and stretched, it will
eventually do damage to your cassette and drive-train.
It will take a little knowledge to understand how you can check to see
if your chain needs replacing, but it isn't difficult, and you can use
a simple ruler or buy a chain checker to do this.
When the chain needs replacing, use a chain tool to remove the chain
and also to make a new chain the right length. A chain tool
works by pushing the pin out of one of the chain links and therefore
severing the chain.
Tools for Removing a Cassette
To remove a cassette from your bike, in order to clean or replace it,
you are going to need a lock ring to insert into the head of the
cassette. A chain whip (which looks exactly as the name
implies) is used to hold the cassette still, and an adjustable wrench
is also needed to grasp the lock ring and work it against the chain
Home Mechanic Repair Stand
When most people start with home repairs, they usually turn their bike
upside down, or find something at home they can use to prop their bike
up while they work on it. This is not the best option, as it
puts undue stress on your bike's components, your back, and your
patience. A quality bike
repair stand will hold
your bike elevated and sturdy while you work on it. This will
not only make your bike repairs easier, but much more fun.
Bicycle Repair Book
In order to understand how to do any repairs properly you can look
online or buy a good bike repair book that has diagrams and detailed
instructions on how to fix all the parts of your bike. Most
repairs are not hard with a little practice, and by taking it one step
at a time, you can become a pretty handy bike mechanic.
Other necessary tools for most repairs which you may already own are
your basic flat and Philips screwdrivers, pliers and long nose pliers.
The above will give you a really great beginning tool set to work
with. Look after your bike, and your bike will look after
you. A well maintained bicycle will likely last you a very
long time, and the skills acquired will provide much more
understanding, enjoyment and fulfillment towards your biking adventures.
About the Author:
Sam Walker has written numerous articles on the benefits of biking and
home bike repairs. He is part of a team that writes outdoor gear
reviews and is currently researching and reviewing the more
repair stands on the market.