At-Home Guide to Bike Tune-Ups

Summer isn’t too far off, and with COVID still in full force, we’re all going to need to find hobbies that bring us into the great outdoors. Biking is the perfect activity to get your body moving, but it can get expensive is you’re not careful. If your bike needs a little TLC, you can take it to the shop, but why pay an arm and a leg for something you can learn to do yourself?

Follow these steps for a simple tune-up you can do at home:

  1. Clean your chain. This is a simple way to ensure your bike runs smoothly. The option is there to take your entire chain off and have it soak overnight, but there is definitely a simpler way. The easier way to go is to wipe your chain with lube and run a cloth over the bottom while moving the pedals backwards.
  2. Clean the cassette. If you are having trouble pedalling, it could be because there is a lot of dirt and debris in your cassette. Use a toothbrush to remove it safely and easily. Then, apply an oil.
  3. Clean the frame. Use a simple dish soap and water combination to lather up your bike. Instead of using a stream of water from a hose to wash the soap off (which can cause rust), use a spray bottle or mist to wash the soap off, and then bounce the bike up and down on the tyres to dry it.
  4. Check the brakes. If the brakes have worn thin, this is too dangerous to leave to chance. Take your bike in to a professional for this one! If the brake pads are fine, but the wheel isn’t centered between the pads, loosen the bold holding the caliper and move it so that there is an even amount of space on both sides of the rim. Lastly. If the pads are clamping down onto the tyre rather than the rims, use an Allen wrench to move the brake pads up to down.
  5. Check the tyres & wheels. If the tyres look a little worn, you may want to replace the tyres altogether. Consider getting advice from a professional to see if you still have time or if they should be replaced right away. If the tread is good to go, check your tyre pressure using the PSI indicated on the side of your tyres while filling them up with air. Lastly, give your wheels a spin to make sure they are not warped. If they are, this is another one for the professionals.

Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find the perfect bike close to home.

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