Monday, 9 August 2010

Bicycle Maintenance

Okay so here we go, a little about the geekier side of me. I love cycling and I also enjoy getting my hands dirty, taking things apart, and hopefully putting them back together again !!!

I did one of those tests online, 'Is your brain Male or Female ?' and apparently, I have a predominantly Male Brain but I can multi task too so that is the Female side of my brain working too and let's not forget that I LOVE shopping so it seems, I've taken the best from both Brains, Super Human !!!  

I've recently started cycling again and thought it was time to learn a little DIY regarding the bike. I trawled the internet looking for courses and was delighted when I found a local one day course, completely FREE of charge, sponsored by my local Council. Yipee!!! I love anything that is FREE or a BARGAIN!!!.  No Doubt, I will blog a little on that subject later on.

A Very Big Thank you to Camden Council and Marcus and Lucy who were the trainers on the day.

Why pay a bike shop £40 for something you can do yourself but if you plan on doing your own maintenance, you will need to buy some basic tools.

Here is an overview of the course below.

Basic Maintenance Course
Overview of Bike:
Learning names of parts.
Checking if a bike is roadworthy.
Tools.
What tools are necessary:
How to use basic tools.
Preventative maintenance:
How to clean and lubricate a bike.
Assessing wear.
Cycling in Comfort:
How to adjust the bike to fit.
Your ideal riding position for comfort and efficiency.
Tyres and Punctures:
Types of Tyre and their uses.
Rear wheel removal.
Tyre removal.
Puncture repair.
Brakes:
How different types of brakes work*
Adjusting brake level reach.
What to adjust as brake pads wear down.
Advice on when parts need replacing.
Replacing pads and how to align them correctly.
Replacing cables.
Gears:
What gears are for.
How indexed gears work.
Replacing a rear gear cable.

This type of course does not cover hydraulic disc brakes, hub brakes, hub
gears or suspension systems.


The course was Fantastic, and I really do feel confident about doing lots of things on my bike. Sadly, I am looking forward to getting a puncture!!!! Yes, SAD, I know.

So now I can go off into the sunset with my lovely Dahon Vitesse and my Puncture Kit, Tyre Leavers and Tools and live happily ever after BUT..... FIRST, I need to do my ABC Bike Check.

ABC Quick Bike Safety Check

Safe cycling starts with a safe and well maintained bicycle. These quick checks will only take about a minute, and ensure that your bike is in safe working order.

A = AIR
Tyres lose a little air each day on their own. Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper pressure before you ride. Check air pressure every couple of weeks. Often, you can't feel a tyre which has lost a little pressure. If you can squeeze the tyre, the air pressure is probably too low. You are also more likely to get a puncture if your tyres are flat and it can damage the tyres too if left under inflated.

B = BRAKES
Squeeze the brakes to make sure the pads are not worn, and will stop the wheel from moving without applying much pressure. Have your brakes adjusted or replace the brake pads as soon as possible if either pad doesn't touch the rim.

C = CHAIN
Make sure your chain is not dried out or rusty, since it could cause sudden problems when riding. Also make sure it is not so worn or stretched that it hangs down. To check for stretching, take a ruler and check to see that the distance between the centres of link pins is exactly 12inches. You can buy a Chain Tool to do this check. If the distance is more, the chain is stretched and should be replaced. If it is worn, replace it. If the chain is dry, lubricate it by using a greaseless chain lubricant. If you find stiff links in your chain, you may be able to free them up by carefully and slightly bending the chain sideways back and forth until the stiff link loosens up.


That's it, Safety Check DONE !!! 

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