Best Bike Maintenance and Pre-Ride Bike Inspection Tips for Cyclists

With these cool bike maintenance tips that every cyclist can use, you can clean, inspect, and lubricate your bike. Whether it’s pre- or post-rides, save on labor and keep every ride as smooth as the first.

Bike Cleaning Tips

When cleaning your bike, to remove grime and oil, use bike soap and degreasers:

  • Hose the bike down and sponge it with soapy water. Then wipe it with a clean towel.
  • Clean your chain with Simple Green all-purpose cleaner, Finish Line, or Purple Power chain degreasers.
  • Use Finish Line’s chain cleaning tool or Park Tool’s version, which is an all-in-one chain cleaning system.
  • Apply lubricant to your chain post-cleaning.

 

grey beach cruiser bicycle

Pre-Ride Inspection

Performing a pre-ride inspection addresses key components and ensures bike safety when riding.

Air Pressure, Levers, and Tires

Use the recommended tire pressure. Inspect your tires for foreign objects like glass or stones. Use a patch kit if needed. Pull your wheels to confirm they’re secure. Examine your quick-release levers. These keep tires in place and should be tightened.

Bolts

Your bolts should be tightened. Check the main bolt on the stem and handlebar and the bolt on the seat post and frame. Don’t over-tighten or you’ll damage the components.

Bottom Bracket

Connecting your crankset with the frame, the bottom bracket should be checked. With the pedals even with the ground, pull/push on the crank arm while holding the pedals in place. If there’s movement, the bottom bracket is wearing down and needs maintenance.

Brakes

When testing your brakes, squeeze your brake levers to verify they’re engaging properly and your gears shift easily.

Chains

Check your chain for loose components. Lubricate and clean it to reduce grime. It should run smoothly through front and rear sprockets. If your chain squeaks, oil it.

Gears

Your rear derailleur should shift smoothly. Confirm your chain doesn’t slip or fall when shifting.

Headset

Check your headset, which helps with rotation between your head tube and fork. Apply your front brakes and try moving your bike. If there’s movement, your headset needs adjusting.

Helmet

Check your helmet for cracks. Confirm straps work properly. Never wear loose-fitting helmets that won’t protect your head during a fall.

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Pre-Ride Essentials

To ride comfortably and prepared, pack core-gear:

cycle route sign on a wooden post

  • Padded gloves to prevent calluses
  • A bike lock and patch kit
  • A charged smartphone and plug
  • Cash and a credit card
  • A route map
  • Water or Gatorade and energy bars
  • A first-aid kit, sunscreen, and sunglasses
  • Your emergency contact information

Wear padded shorts to prevent chafing and wicker jerseys to stay cool. Store essentials in a fanny pack or under-seat bag, but always keep cash/credit cards and emergency information with you.

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Wrap-Up

Once you’ve inspected your bike and performed routine maintenance, you’ll have smoother rides. Proper bike maintenance will keep your bike functioning and keep you safe on and off-road.

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