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View Full Version : Please - put air in my tires & keep me clean and lubed!



DeniseGoldberg
05-21-2006, 06:22 AM
If you take good care of me, we can have many happy miles (or kilometers!) rolling down the road together. And yes, this really is your bike talking!

Please don't take this post the wrong way - it's quite possible that everyone reading is well aware of the simple things that keep your bike rolling along happily. But I've noticed some posts recently that reminded me that while some of us have been living with bikes for a long, long time, there are many women here who are just getting started and are not thinking of the regular "caring" that should be applied to keep their bikes happy. And while I'd like to think that when a bike decides to go home with a new owner that the folks at the bike shop pass on this information before the bike rolls out of the shop, I suspect that it just doesn't happen.

So, just the basics...

Air - make sure that your tires have the appropriate amount of pressure. I always put air in my tires before riding. That may be overkill, but I'd rather start with good tire pressure. And it takes very little time at the beginning of a ride to add some air... It's funny, but I had this conversation with one of my work colleagues last week. He's a serious (and fast!) road biker, but he told me that he doesn't want to take the time to check his tires before every ride. He only checks and puts air in his tires once a week. But I still maintain that less than a minute spent with my pump before a ride is time well spent (at least for my peace of mind!).

Lube - apply chain lube on a fairly regular basis (not too much though!). Also apply lube to pivot points on brakes and derailleurs. Wipe off any excess - remember, not too much as it can and will attract dirt!

Clean - Keep both the moving parts and the frame clean. This is obviously easier for roadies, but still... If I ride in the rain, my bike usually gets cleaned and re-lubed before I get my shower (although on really cold days that has to be reversed!) Then again, depending on how wet or muddy the bike is, if you let the bike dry, you might be able to just knock off most of the dirt. For those of you new to cycling, there are chain cleaning devices available out there - and with or without one of these devices you can clean the chain on the bike. If you have a chain with a master link you can also take the chain off of the bike to clean it. (To be honest, my chain gets cleaned on the bike...)

Here's a link to an article by Jim Langley about basic bike care.
http://www.jimlangley.net/wrench/basicbikecare.html

I'm sure that there are other forum members who have additional check-list items that can help all of us. More ideas?

--- Denise

yellow
05-21-2006, 08:45 AM
Great post, Denise! I know that this would have certainly helped me out when I was just starting to ride. I had no clue what to do and was very intimidated by all those bike parts. The best way to learn about the bike is to take care of it.

The only $0.02 I would add is that it's worth the investment to get a workstand. It makes doing all that maintenance easier. Get one that has adjustable height so it can be tweaked to accommodate whatever you are working on. At least once a week I'll put the bike in the stand, remove both wheels, clean the frame and wipe down the parts, clean the rims and cassette, put wheels back on and clean/lube drivetrain. I will do this more often if the conditions have been rather dusty. I also always check for worn brake pads, loose screws, etc. Don't want any surprises!

kjay
05-21-2006, 08:47 AM
Thanks for these very informative posts, Denise and yellow. :)

Geonz
05-21-2006, 01:31 PM
When I started being a lot pickier about inflation, I pretty much *stopped* getting flat tires, and became a much "stronger" - faster - rider. Couple of times I went out with the group and thought I must be coming down with something, 'cause I was working so hard... until I realized that no, I hadn't checked the tires.
WHen I did GITAP last year, the third day I didn't bother with the air 'cause I thought my butt was already tired of the seat and that soft tires would make a softer ride. NOT! NOT! NOT! BOY, was I glad to see the ride van 25 miles into the ride, and boy, did it feel better! (and they weren't that soft, either) (The song it inspired is destined to be an underground hit, but the blues ain't worth it! Pump those tires up 'til they're good and stiff)

shadon
05-21-2006, 01:50 PM
Such a good reminder here to take care of your ride. As a new rider, I know I'm guilty of not really paying attention to my bike. When I've takn the time to clean it, put air in the tires before I leave, I have an easier and more pleasuralble ride.

When I just go flying out of the house, I find my ride harder, and myself more frustrated...

Baby your bike!

ladyfish
05-21-2006, 02:34 PM
That's a great article. Easy to understand, and easy to follow! I guess I need to spend more money on a bike stand (good tip, Yellow). The best part is now I can show my DH that I really DO need to keep my bike parked in the Living Room--we don't use that room for entertaining, so I figure it's a great bike room!!;)

Deborajen
05-21-2006, 02:40 PM
Thanks for the information.--

Sometimes the very basic stuff frustrates me the most - I was told "Clean your bike often" (but what's often - ?). We were just discussing some of the basics with our teenage son, in fact.

One question - Does the chain need to be lubed only on the inside of the links? LBS showed me how to lean the bike away to keep oil off of frame parts, etc., but they didn't explain anything about excessive lube. My chain always seems to look "gunky" compared to a lot of the others on group rides so I'm probably putting on too much. Will holding a paper towel on the chain and turning the pedals until the entire chain has been wiped take off the excess without taking off too much? I know it sounds really simple, but the little things are what I seem to mess up on the most.

I bought a chain-cleaning gizmo but found that I like the spray on degreaser better. It really seems to cut through and leave a nice shine. LBS recommended a bike wash, but they said try not to get it on the tires because they have kevlar in them and the cleaner can weaken the kevlar.

Tires - we've exploded a few inner tubes, but we're getting the hang of watching the position of the tire bead as you air up a newly replaced tube, and in light of that we're not as fearful of putting in the correct amount of air instead of chickening out too soon - Plus we got a better floor pump that I can use and don't have to call in my husband for more muscle.--

Deb

TrekJeni
05-21-2006, 06:52 PM
One of my training buddies was doing some preventative work on her bike. Noticed some screws that looked loose and tightneed them. Couldn't figure out why she couldn't shift.

DO NOT TIGHTEN YOUR LIMIT SCREWS on your derailer!

Jeni
(good post Denise)

DrBee
05-22-2006, 09:31 AM
Great posts Denise and Yellow. Thanks! I had been pretty good about checking the air on my tires, but with recent traveling I forgot. As I posted on Saturday - I went out and felt lousy, realized my tire pressure was low and came back and pumped up the tires to 110. I don't know if riding on them low caused damage or not, but the rear tube blew (with quite a bang) later that afternoon. I will not make the same mistake twice and will check my tire pressure before each ride.

Thanks again!

SnappyPix
05-23-2006, 01:32 AM
Denise,

Um, thanks for posting this ... you shamed me into spending my free afternoon lovingly cleaning and lubing my poor neglected bike! :o
I even got round to replacing the brake pads, which has been on my to-do list for the past 7 months! Then had to completely readjust my brakes because the new pads were SO much fatter than the worn out paper thin ones I sheepishly took off...:o
Oh, and pumped the tyres.
Am I excused now?! ;)

Geonz
05-23-2006, 07:50 AM
Yup, write "I will not neglect my bicycle" 10 times, and then you can go outside and PLAY.:D :D

bcipam
05-23-2006, 01:53 PM
The only $0.02 I would add is that it's worth the investment to get a workstand. It makes doing all that maintenance easier. Get one that has adjustable height so it can be tweaked to accommodate whatever you are working on.

...A bike stand (good one - nice and steady) and the proper cleaning brushes. For years I made do with rags and paint brushes. A friend finally bought me proper bike cleaning brushes including a cassette brush which is heaven sent!!! Now cleaning is fun and easy. My friend (a properly anal-retentive bike geek who breaks down and cleans his bikes after every ride) showed me how to properlu lube my chain after cleaning. I used to just roll the chain, spray on the lube and then wipe off the excess. WRONG! (he screamed!) Although it takes alittle longer it is worth the effort, I now use a good lube (I like Pro Link) and put only a drop on every link connection starting at teh Conex Link and going all around then after the lube has had a chance to set in, I back pedal the chain and gently wipe. My chain, cassette and bikes have stayed remarkedly clean.

Another thing I learned - no brushes or dirty rags on the mountain bike shock and forks. They can cause scratches and thus prevent the seals from working properly. Soft clean rags and then a lube such as Tri Flow ad gently wipe.

Prairiedog
05-23-2006, 08:22 PM
Could you guys give the trade names of the products you are using and what products to stay away from?

Grog
05-23-2006, 10:05 PM
Could you guys give the trade names of the products you are using and what products to stay away from?

I happen to have a lot of Park Tool stuff. Not really a conscious choice. But I love their brushes, among others.

I love the Ecotech Finish Line Degreaser.

SnappyPix
05-25-2006, 07:12 PM
Thought this might be useful, good advice, near clear pictures:

http://www.purpleextreme.com/cleaning.html

kelownagirl
05-25-2006, 07:35 PM
So the chain and rings aren't supposed to be caked in thick, black grease? :eek: oops... Guess I'd better get to work... :o

MomOnBike
05-26-2006, 12:09 PM
So the chain and rings aren't supposed to be caked in thick, black grease?

Of COURSE they are. How else do you think you get the distinctive "I ride a bike" grease stains on your legs/pants? :D

Grumble...the education one has to do around here.....grumble, grumble

:rolleyes:

MomOnBike
(who actually does try to keep her chain clean)

Denise223
09-10-2006, 12:39 PM
Well, since I'm not going to ride today.....I'm going outside to clean my bike.... She deserves it :) !

Lots of great info here! Thanks Denise, for starting this thread!

KSH
09-18-2006, 08:00 PM
So the chain and rings aren't supposed to be caked in thick, black grease? :eek: oops... Guess I'd better get to work... :o

Exactly!

I have tried to "clean" my chain, but I really don't know how to do it. I put grease on... but it never seems to come "off". It's just always dirty! And then I add grease... and that doesn't help. UGH. I wish I could just pay someone to clean it for me.

As for my bike, I cleaned it for the 2nd time... in 2 years *gasp*... tonight. Sad, I know.

Kitsune06
09-18-2006, 08:29 PM
I use one of the quick links... just unsnap it, throw it in an empty Fruitwater bottle 1/4 full of solvent, let it sit a little while, shake, shake, shake, pull out chain, run (old) toothbrush over it, put it in again, shake, shake, shake, wipe down with cloth (old dish cloth? DGF's new dish cloth? Who knows?!) and let the solvent evaporate, then lube your way to happiness. ...oh, and use that brush and solvent on your filthy, filthy drivetrain, too. :)

DebW
09-18-2006, 08:38 PM
Don't use grease. Chains need oil or specific chain lube.

KnottedYet
09-18-2006, 09:35 PM
Park Tool's "Chain Gang" is awesome. See my post somewhere around here. I think it started with "I'm in love"

yeah, the U of W teaches it's English Majors the art of hyperbole...:rolleyes:

And I use Boeing T-9 on my chain.

jusdooit
09-22-2006, 09:50 AM
Can anyone suggest a good bike maint. book? I am very visual and it would help a lot to have a book with pics to follow while doing this stuff. BTW thanks for all the grerat info.

DebW
09-22-2006, 10:42 AM
Can anyone suggest a good bike maint. book? I am very visual and it would help a lot to have a book with pics to follow while doing this stuff. BTW thanks for all the grerat info.

Check these two threads:
http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=9744

http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=9439