If you got a new bike for Christmas but are not sure about maintaining it, we’ve got you sorted.
We share tips on ensuring your new pride and joy stays in tip top condition, courtesy of staff at Angus Cycle Hub.
The advice ranges from the obvious, such as keeping tyres inflated, to the less so, like putting your bike chain side up when placing it on the ground.
Russ Walton, who works at Angus Cycle Hub in Arbroath, says just a little bit of maintenance work on your bike can add years to its life.
Keep your tyres inflated
Underinflated tyres is one of the most common issues staff come across at Angus Cycle Hub.
“The amount of bikes we see coming into the store that have underinflated tyres is quite high,” Russ said.
Having a tyre on the flat side will make your bike harder to cycle and make it more prone to punctures (more on that to come).
But what is the right pressure? A tyre can be overinflated as well as underinflated.
“The easiest thing to do is if you’ve got a pump with a pressure gauge on it,” Russ said.
But if you don’t have such a pump, you’ll have to learn to judge it for yourself.
Russ said: “If you’re pushing it and can barely make an indentation, it’s probably too hard.
“It wants to be somewhere in the middle where you can push it a wee bit, but not a lot.”
The risk an overinflated tyre poses is greater if you ride on uneven terrain. This is because there isn’t enough give in the tyre as it goes over different surfaces.
But even if you are likely to cycle off flat paths, it’s important to regularly check your pressure.
“It’s not like you pump it up one week and that’s it for the rest of the year,” Russ added.
“They have a habit of losing air over time.”
Store your bike in a warm, dry place
Where you store your bike vitally important.
While not everyone has the luxury of storage space in their house or flat, at the very least you should be keeping it in a shed or garage.
Outside is out of the question, if you can help it.
Moisture has a habit of getting in anywhere on the bike.”
Russ Walton, Arbroath Cycle Hub
Keeping it in a warm and dry place allows any moisture that is in the bike to dry “rather than start to cause rust”.
“Moisture has a habit of getting in anywhere on the bike.
“It can affect the gears, brakes and suspension. It will make a bike wear a lot quicker.”
Clean your bike after a ride
If you don’t have the luxury of storing your bike in a warm and dry place, you can still mitigate damage from moisture by keeping it clean.
It might be tempting to head straight to the sofa after a cycle and not think about your bike for a while. What with being tired from the physical exertion and all that.
But doing that is a big no, according to Russ.
Dirt can build-up on the chain and wheels, causing headaches down the road.
He said: “Especially at this time of year with all the salt and grit on the road, you want to give it a bit of a clean just to get some of that salt off.”
Having an old t-shirt or towel handy to give your bike a quick dry will help its general maintenance as well.
And using water displacement products, such as WD40, on the chain can help keep it clean and prevent dirt and grease build-up.
Down on the upside
If you have to put your bike down on the ground, always do it chain-side up.
This helps prevent dirt from the ground getting into the chain.
On a similar topic, dropping your bike can help with its long-term maintenance.
No, not from a height.
But a little drop from about an inch or so off the ground can help you spot – or hear – any issues before they become truly problematic.
Russ says if you listen out for unusual noises – such as the rattle of loose bolts – you can nip any problems in the bud before they become bigger issues.
Learn how to fix a puncture
As Russ points out, you don’t want to be miles from home if you get a puncture without knowing how to patch it up.
This would result in a long walk home. Pushing a busted bike along the way.
Russ said: “It’s something you can do in a few minutes if you know how and you can get back to riding again.
“If you can’t do it, it can be quite a long walk.”
New riders can visit the Angus Cycle Hub shop on Market Place, Arbroath, for advice on bike maintenance. Or check out their new site in Dundee’s waterfront.