I check my bike every time before I ride. Here's the formula: A,B,C Quick Check
A = Air. Make sure your tires are inflated to the correct pressure. You can find the recommend pressure on the side of your tire expressed in PSI. It's usually a range. Squeezing tires only work if you already know how the correct air pressure feels. Get a good floor pump with a pressure gauge so you know your tires a properly inflated. Tires do lose air over time. I put air in about every 3rd to 4th time I ride.
B = brakes. Make sure your brakes work. Squeeze the levers. They should NOT touch your handlebars. If they do touch, they need an adjustment. Take you bike to the shop. Best not to ride if the brakes are not working. You should have 1/8 of brake pad. If it's less than that take it to the bike shop or replace them yourself.
C - chain, cranks (peddles) & cog. Pedal backwards (if you can) and listen the chain. It should roll smoothly and not make lots of noise. Pull on the cranks. Try to pull them away form the frame. You're trying to see if they are loose. It would not be fun if a pedal fell off during a ride. Cog is all those gears on the back wheel. Are they clean? Are they bent? Time to go the the local bike shop.
Quick Check = check at the quick release levers on your bike: wheels, seat, brakes etc. Are they closed?
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Fitness Minutes: (87,555) Posts: 1,151 8/20/13 9:35 A
All tubes lose air. Lower-pressure tubes seem to lose it more slowly. Don' s squeeze test is a good way to check them.
And congratulations - you recognized something was wrong because the bike didn't "feel" right. That means you're getting a feel for your bike and how it interacts with your body. You're a cyclist!
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YouTube is a wonderful repository of do-it-yourself bicycle maintenance videos which I've found helpful. Being all thumbs mechanically I have had to learn a few things also. I sure could benefit from learning more too...lol!
I usually give my tires a squeeze with my hand before heading out to see if they feel a little softer and if so I pump them up. Chain lube? For me approximately every 50 miles. There are great videos on the best way to lube as well.
You also can learn directly by taking your bike into your local bike shop and having them perform these tasks, but be sure to tell them that you would like to learn how and most will be very accommodating in showing you how.
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Fitness Minutes: (7,063) Posts: 1,198 8/20/13 12:21 A
I have no idea about any of this, when I was younger and had a bike, I rode it a LOT, but if there was a problem, flat tire or if the chain came off or whatever, I just parked it in the garage and my dad fixed it! Not entirely my fault, I was a child, lol!
It's probably a silly question, but is there a recommended amount of time or miles that things need to be done to my bike? I have only put about 30-40 miles on my bike and I noticed that it seemed to be getting harder to pedal....finally glanced at my tires and saw that they looked a bit mushy. When I first got my bike, I aired the tires up to about 55 psi and they were down at about 20 psi (both the front and back were about the same). Is it normal to lose pressure in that few of miles, or is it because its not a high end bike, or is it because of my weight, or a combination of all that? Should I be checking the air every time I go out or get home? What about greasing the chain? And my seat is so squeaky...but I figure it is protesting my butt when I hit bumps, lol.
Tracy, Illinois, CST
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