Cycling every day is an amazing form of exercise, a great leisure activity, and a common means of transportation.
Over the past couple of years, the use of the cycle in the daily lives of Americans has considerably increased from 43 million to 47.5 million.
Unfortunately, the frequent use of bicycles can lead to maintenance and routine repairs. In times like these, we wish to be equipped with handy mechanic skills to fix our bicycles on our own and go about the day without a hitch!
If you’re looking for common DIY bicycle repairs, you have come to the right place. Here we will help you learn simple steps to maintaining and repairing your bicycle so that you can get out of a sticky situation on the road or trail!
1. Fix a Flat Tire
Droopy wheels are the most common problem that cyclers experience with their wheels. Before you go looking for holes, check the tire pressure. For this, you’ll need to first remove the wheel of your bicycle. If you have rim brakes, you will have to loosen the brakes.
In case you have a v-brake, you will need to squeeze the arms of your brakes to release the tension and to remove the cable. For a quick release, simply open the lever. Next, you have to ensure all the air is out of the tire.
Fix two tire tools a few inches apart from each other under the bead (edge/lip of the tire), push them together, and a little bit of the tire will come off. At this point, you can rotate the second tire tool around the tire to get the entire tire to come off.
To get the second tire off the wheel, you will have to pull the tire upward. For this, you will need to place the wheel on the ground. Pull up and then push the side of the rim down, and the tire will easily pop off.
Inspect the tire. For low tire pressure due to holes, inflate a new tube using an air pump. Pull up the thumb lock on the pump.
Fill in the air until the tire takes on the desired shape. Put the tube in the location of the tire. Push the edge of the tire inside the rim and insert the valve stem into the rim’s valve hole. Now push the tube inside the entire tire.
In case you have to repair a damaged tube, a patching kit is everything you need for a robust patch. Firstly, find the damaged area.
Clean it with some water and let it dry. Scrub the damaged area with sandpaper so that glue can easily adhere to the spot. Now put some glue (use vulcanizing fluid) and then gently place the tube patch over the dented area.
2. Put Back a Slipped Chain
A slipped chain can turn your pleasant ride into an unpleasant one real quick. If you can’t spot a repairman or a mechanic nearby, you may find yourself in dire straits. However, the good thing is re-attaching a slipped chain is not hard at all!
When a chain drops from its main gear, it usually comes off from the rear cogset or/and the front chainring. Adjust the chain back in the rear cog.
When it is carefully placed, drop the chain over the teeth of the front chainring. To ensure the chain is in the correct place, slowly move the pedal forward. This will get the chain around the entire chainring as well as the cogset.
However, if the chain keeps dropping, it’s probably because it’s too long for the frame of your cycle. In this case, you will need to eliminate extra chain links using a chain tool.
You can also use the chain tool to remove the broken chain parts. Once you have busted the damaged chain or unwanted chain links, make sure to link the remaining ends together.
3. Tighten Up Loose Bolts
Loose bolts can make bicycle gear parts, such as the stem, handlebar, or a seat post, to come out. As a result of this, you may suffer from an accident or an unsafe riding experience. To fix loose bolts, you will need a torque wrench.
Please note that there are two types of wrenches – a beam and click-type. In both of them, you will have to unlock the wrench first. In the beam wrench, there’s no dial to set. You tighten the bolt until the pointer reaches the recommended dial.
In the click wrench, you will have to adjust the scale to the required torque and keep rotating the wrench and tighten the bolt until you hear or feel the wrench click. The trick is to set the dial accurately. If you’re able to do that, the integrated indicator will guarantee the perfect stiff!
You can also use a torque wrench to loosen bolts when they are too tight. Keep in mind that delicate parts may break up when bolts are under pressure.
You will use the same method as discussed in the previous paragraph for loosening bolts. However, make sure to set the dial correctly (if using the click-type wrench). This can help ease up the bolts.
4. Removing a Stuck Seat Post
There’s nothing more annoying than a stuck seat post, especially if it is too high or too low.
First, loosen the seat post binder, removing the bolt and collar too. If the saddle refuses to budge even then, spray the whole affected area with a powerful lubricant such as WD-40. Let it stay overnight and try moving the saddle the next day.
If the seat still fails to budge, use a clamp and pliers to unclip the parts and readjust the seat post.
To avoid this problem altogether, keep the seat post and its tube clean and well-oiled. Always use a clean cloth to wipe the post. Avoid using poor-quality grease as that will aggravate the situation.
When dealing with a stuck seat post, keep the bicycle at a certain height so that you can easily remove the post parts, and easily investigate the area.
5. Brake Pad Rattle
If you hear your brakes squeal or squeak, you should deal with it immediately. The rattling of brake pads could be because they are loose. To start off, move the arm of your brakes up and down to tighten them.
If the brake pads still make noise, loosen the nut, adjust the brake pads, and then place the nut back to its place. Doing so will help the screw move the pad closer to the disc and prevent noise from re-surfacing. You may also have to unscrew the bolt, tighten the wire, and then place the screw back on.
You will also need to clean your rotors or wheel rims with a particular disc brake degreaser. However, avoid pouring the degreaser directly onto the brake pads. Cleaning your pads or roughing up the pads with some sandpaper can also do the trick.
Basic Bicycle Maintenance Tips
To stop these sticky situations (mentioned above) from occurring in the first place, you should follow some basic bicycle maintenance tips. These include:
Clean and Lubricate Your Bicycle
Your bicycle needs occasional cleaning and lubricating to ensure that it remains in optimum condition. Use rags to clean dirty, greasy parts.
Have brushes of several sizes and shapes to eliminate grime and filth from hard-to-reach spots. If your bicycle is covered with dirt, a water hose can come in handy. Use dishwashing soap to clean the cycle and then use a neat rag to dry up your bike.
Inspect Your Bike Daily
If you’re a frequent cycler, you should examine your bike for small or big problems daily. Before you go on a ride, have a quick, overall inspection to avoid safety hazards.
You may be a bicycle enthusiast and love taking care of your bike, but here’s a friendly tip – do not experiment with the products or tools you use to maintain or fix your bicycle.
If you’re not an expert at repairing or maintaining your bike, you should take your vehicle to a professional mechanic.
Most of you will agree that fixing a bicycle is not as hard as one may think. If you follow our step-by-step guide, you can easily get out of a sticky situation all by yourself.