Tires loose air over time so check the pressure of your tires often. If you have not used your bike in awhile and the tires are very low on air, chances are they just need to be pumped up. The correct air pressure is located on the side of the tires.
Make sure your wheels are properly tightened to your frame. If you have quick release levers, ensure they are adequately tightened and clasped. If you have bolts make sure they are tight enough.
Lights – It is important you have front and rear lights to ensure motorists see you at night. Set them on flashing mode to save battery life.
Repair kit – It is best to have the tools with you to fix a flat rather than hailing an expensive taxi. Be sure you know how to fix a flat tire and carry the necessary tools with you. You can either carry a tube or a patch kit. Make sure the tube has the correct valve for your bike and the pump has the correct opening (there are two kinds, presta and shrader). You should also have a small multi-tool that has a wrench to take off your wheel, and tire levers to remove the tire from the rim. These multi-tools are inexpensive and can be found at most any bike shop.
Your brakes should be tight enough so that when you apply the brakes the wheels do not turn. While standing next to the bike, apply the brakes and walk the bike slowly to see if the brakes are tight enough. They shouldn't be so tight that they rub the rim when unengaged. Check by lifting the bike and turning the wheel.
Squeaky brakes can be solved by adjusting the brake pads so the front of the pads are slightly toed in towards the rim. In other words, the front of the pads should be slightly closer to the rim than the rear of the pads. Breaks that squeek can also indicate you need new break pads.
A bike that has been sitting for a while needs chain lube to keep the shifting smooth. Apply a small amount of lube to the chain and wipe off the excess. Make sure to use a lube for bicycles, which can be found at your favorite bicycle shop.
Bay Area Bike Maintenance Classes
Contact these bicycle retailers for information about their in-store bike maintenance classes:
- Mike's Bikes
Free classes every Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Locations include Berkeley, Palo Alto, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Rafael and Sausalito
- Bicycle Works
Classes on the third Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m.
3335 Solano Ave
- NorCal Bike Sport
Free clinic first Thursday of every month from 6:15 pm to 8 pm
425 College Avenue,
Santa Rosa, CA
- Sports Basement
Free maintenance classes the first Tuesday of each month. All locations including Presidio, Bryant Street, Sunnyvale and Walnut Creek.
Shops with Discounts for Members