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David Fiedler

Simple Steps Add Up - Make Maintenance Convenient and Easy

By March 18, 2008

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Wet. That's what a lot of my riding seems to be lately. Winter's last gasp (hopefully) means the tail end of melting snow and but now we're moving into early spring rain. And that translates into lots of crapola on the bike, from salt spray to road grime to just plain old water thrown up by my tires.

You're probably smarter than me and do this sort of thing already, but I've been congratulating myself on the set-up I've created as a result of all this filth on my bike that I carry home every day. What I did was put a plastic milk crate right where I park my bike, and filled it with cleaning supplies. Here's what's in it:

  • Rags
  • Small bottle of oil
  • An old toothbrush
  • Tire pump
  • Air pressure gauge

That stuff is there and handy for me because right after each ride I take (literally) just a minute or two and carefully wipe down the bike. I do both the frame and the wheels, and then lubricate the chain and other moving parts as needed. The brush is for getting out any tough gunk, and I use the tire pump and gauge to check air pressure before I ride the next time. The key is having your supplies handy, so it's easy to do. I know if I have to go off hunting for stuff, it's probably not going to happen.

Not only does little quick bit of easy maintenance help prolong the life of your bike and its components, but there is something great about riding a clean bike. You tend to feel better about it and take even better care of it.

Here's a link to a list of preventative maintenance tasks and their recommended frequency, if you're looking for an idea of exactly what sorts of things you want to do for your bike and how often.

Bike Maintenance Schedule

Image: Douglas - Westbound/Flickr


March 18, 2008 at 8:55 am
(1) John Power says:

I notice you have no Mudguards,so you will get a lot of Dirt thrown up at you and the Bike. They are not Dear to Buy and most Bicycles in Europe Have them Already,except some Mountain Bikes.It is sometimes very annoying to be travelling behind some Cyclist and have a load of Muck thrown up at you.I have noticed those without Mudguards get Mud all up their Backs as well very uncomfortable. I like your Blog very much and have stumbled on it by Accident. Dublin Ireland.

June 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm
(2) Steve says:

Dave – One thing not mentioned in the link for the maintenance schedule, is replacing the chain. What is the general guidiline for the life of a chain for a road bike? Thanks for the great articles.

June 3, 2010 at 8:24 pm
(3) Brian says:

After reading the link regarding the maintenance schedule, I had two reactions:

1. Wow- what a great list of guidelines to follow for the proper upkeep of my bike

2. Wow- I don’t do many of these prescribed things… certainly not as frequently as recommended.

I thought about the advice I got as a kid things like “chew each bite 30 times before swallowing” and I don’t do that either.

I appreciate your recommendation of keeping a basket of things you need to do the basic maintenance, but waxing the bike? replacing bearings?

Maybe I was thrown by the suggested frequency… as I’m not clocking 6,000 miles a year. What of these things are my bike shop doing as part of a “tune-up?”

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