Bike Maintenance 101

If you were, an inner city kid, mom, and dad couldn’t afford to get you a bike when you wanted one. What did you do? You went out and built your own. You’d make the rounds in alley’s and in odd out of the way places.

You’d find a frame in someone’s garage and they’d let you have if you cleaned the garage for them.

After a bit, you had enough parts to put one together and a little paint and you had yourself a bike. It may not have been pretty, but you had the satisfaction of knowing you built it yourself. Most of you have never done this as bikes have changed a lot since those summer days of our childhoods.

Now almost all bikes are bought at a MegaMart or Specialty store that cater to biking enthusiasts, or you have bought it online and had it delivered from Amazon.

Few use the Sears catalog to buy a bike nowadays as they too have switched to online as well. All things Change with time, except one. Your bike no matter where you have gotten it from will at some time breakdown.

That is what you will learn about today: bike maintenance and the tools you’ll need.

Bikes today can be seen going up mountain trails in Nepal. Gliding down jungle paths in Cambodia there are many bikers and tourist these days as well, and leaping into the air off jagged rocks just for the fun of it. Of course, you’ll find Tandem Bikes right here in San Francisco.

The materials have changed as well. Steel gave way to lighter metals and now carbon fiber composite frames lighten a bike to where is almost as light as a feather. So, what do you do if you are in the middle of the forest a 100 miles from the nearest gas station and you tire goes flat.

Do You Have A Repair Kit?

Hopefully, you have brought a tire repair kit and some basic tools. If not, you’ve got a long hike ahead of you.

If you’ve never had to fix your bike in the field, you should look at that little pouch most bikes come with today that is attached to your seat or frame. You might be surprised at the strange looking gadgets there are there inside.

You might find a patch or two. Some glue and a flat piece of metal with strange shapes incised in it that’s supposed to fit the bolts and huts that hold your bike together.

This is not enough to do the job right and if you rely, only on what comes with your bike you might find yourself out in the cold. (Literally)

Tools Every Rider Needs

First off a little bit of know how!
If you are a serious rider you will want to learn about how to repair you bike for real. The best way to do this is with Zinn’s Bike Maintenance manual.

It is often called the Bike Book or just plain Zinns. It is a great book on fixing and bike upkeep.

Inside you will find everything from brake cables to gearing ratios to how to replace a brake cable or repair a wheel in the field. Chapter 3 is one of the best parts of the book as it goes into emergency repairs and that’s what you should be looking at regularly and commit to heart and memory as well.

The next thing you’ll need is a good tool kit.

If you are going to ride regularly and for long distances, you must invest in a decent set of tools for bike repair.

Bike Repair Stand

While not the top of the line, it is sufficient for most repair jobs outside a bike shop.

A bike stand may make work easier as well.

You’ll want to carry a multitool in your hip pouch or travel bag.  This kind of tool while not as useful as specialty tools, works well for quick repairs in the field.

Of course, the alternative is to bring it the professional at Bay Area Tandems. We’ll get you setup right.

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