Keep it clean and show her some respect; 5 ways to love your bike right

Posted on: January 27th, 2019

A bike can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Treat it well and it will treat you accordingly. But fail to show adequate respect and you risk mechanicals and crashes. 



You and your bike are a loving partnership who spend hours together. But when you are not coasting in the relationship, the bike can be discarded.

You’ll take the bus, the car, get a lift, and forget about it for a few days.

You’ll even wonder why you got it in the first place and maybe contemplate trading it in.

Fear not, these feelings are common. It can be harder to motivate oneself to ride anywhere in winter, let alone the 10-minute work commute.

And we haven’t even mentioned the maintenance yet…

But five (easy!) ways to help keep the bond strong and sustain the love affair are set out in the piece below…


Check the tyres (before every ride ideally)

The more you ride the more chance your tyres will have of picking up bits of glass and sharp objects from the road.

These become embedded into the tyre and over time, will penetrate the surface, if not removed.

Eventually, they’ll pierce the tyre and it’s only a matter of time before they burst the inner tube, leading to a puncture.

The only way to avoid this is spin the wheel and hold the tyre lightly so you can feel where these objects are.

Carefully remove them with a knife. Take a quick look all the way around again for places where the rubber might be cracked, gouged or worn.


Ensure brakes are tight (every week)

Make sure the brakes are tight and when you pull them, they are ‘snappy’.

That is, there’s absolutely minimum delay between you wanting to stop and ‘actually’ stopping.

Brakes become loose and worn over time through friction as the rim erodes them.

Inspect the rubber brake blocks that grip the wheel when you pull the brakes to make sure they don’t need to be changed.

Tight brakes allow you stop a fraction of a second quicker.


Clean and lube the chain (when it is dirty!)

You know a beginner cyclist straight away and one of the biggest giveaways is the clamour his or her bike is making.

A dirty chain is a sin and makes a sound as ugly as it looks. Conversely, a clean chain is smooth and silent.

Cleaning a chain takes less time than making a cup of tea.

But it is one of the most overlooked – and important – steps in keeping your bike ‘new’ and functioning properly.

Very simply, degrease the chain and the cassette with a toothbrush. Rinse with warm water and a sponge until the black is replaced by silver.

And then Dry everything with an old rag. Apply wet lube. Done.



Check those bolts (once a week)

Check to make sure your handlebars are the right height that the stem is fastened tightly and your seat is set at the correct height.

You want to be sure all bolts securing these are secure. There are fewer things more petrifying than realising you can’t control your bike mid-ride.

This is especially worrying as you go zipping down the street because the handlebars are loose in your hands.

Bolts become rusted over time and can crack from being too tight, or just from being old.

Give everything a two-minute once over, especially if you ride on rough roads regularly.


Wash the bike! (at least every week)

If your bike is clean, there’s a better chance of you riding it, believe it or not.

The best time to wash the bike is immediately when you come in the door after your ride.

If you park the bike and delay the process, you’ll probably have a shower, have dinner, plonk down on the couch for the night and vow to do it later, which definitely won’t happen.

Wash the bike BEFORE the shower.