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An Introduction to Basic Bike Maintenance + Fixes

08.28.18

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An Introduction to Basic Bike Maintenance + Fixes

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  • Bike technology has made bikes lighter and more fun, yet they are still complicated machines that can breakdown on the trail. - An Introduction to Basic Bike Maintenance + Fixes
  • Packing a couple of tools and having some basic trailside maintenance skills will go a long way in helping you be ready for anything out on the trails.- An Introduction to Basic Bike Maintenance + Fixes
  • Amasa Back Trails, Captain Ahab: Technical line choice.- An Introduction to Basic Bike Maintenance + Fixes
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It doesn't matter how fit you are or how experienced you might be at biking, your skills will mean little if you don't have the tools and knowledge to maintain your bike and keep those two-wheeled adventures rolling on your own accord. And while you might have a local bike shop that you rely on for your larger bike woes, every biker should be prepared for a myriad of common fiascos that can happen when you are on a ride and  your trusty technician friends are nowhere nearby to give you a hand. 

Bikes are notoriously complex pieces of equipment, which means that a lot can go wrong. Tires, tubes, chains, shocks, brakes, gears, derailleurs, the list goes on. Luckily, many issues that can arise on a ride (both on the road or the mountain) are easy to fix if you're properly prepared.

But first, keep your bike happy.

But before diving into some of the most prevalent bike issues one may encounter and how to fix them, it should be said that regular bike maintenance is essential to keeping your bike happy and going the distance. Get into the habit of giving your bike love on a regular basis and both of you will be happy you did.  

  • Safety checks: before every ride, conduct a safety check on your bike. This will ensure that your bike and your pack are ready to go. All you have to do is remember A [Air], B [Brakes], and C [Chain]!
  • Wash your bike: Treat your bike to a good scrub down here and there, especially after a muddy ride. For a solid overview of how to do this, check out Liv's guide to proper washing here.

The tools of the trade.

Now that you've gotten some of the before and after basics under control, it's time to talk tools and gear that should always be on hand during a ride. Because even the most experienced rider will struggle without these must-haves:

  • Spare tube (or two)
  • Patch kit
  • Tire levers
  • Multi-tool
  • Hand pump
  • CO2 cartridges
  • CO2 valve
  • Tire boot
  • Quick links for your chain
  • Zip ties 
  • Duct tape

Your essentials list may include even more items depending on whether you are going road biking or mountain biking, embarking on a short or long ride, and how your individual bike is set up. With some insight and help from your local bike shop, you should be able to find all of the correct tools for you. 

And now, how to use them.

By now, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the idea of fixing your own bike. But luckily for us, the good folks over at Liv Cycling have made this entire process easy and fun! Take a look at these tutorial videos for some of the best how-tos out there, and start practicing these skills every chance you get. 

Trailside Bike Repairs

How to Fix a Flat Tire

How to Repair a Broken Chain

How to Adjust a Bike Derailleur

How to Fix Bike Brakes

While you're at it, I recommend taking a look at Liv's other awesome guide videos - especially the How to Silence Common Bike Noises. They also have a plethora of information around road biking, triathlons, training tips, mountain biking skills, traveling with bikes, and more!

 

Featured photo by Michelle Pearl Gee.
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