There are only a couple repairs every rider should know and with a little effort you can quickly learn all the essential skills needed to properly take care of your bike. You can find information on practically every repair and maintenance technique on the web, so we will only review the essentials here and provide links for a more comprehensive review. A great way to learn how to do almost all your bike repairs yourself is from the Durham Bike Co-Op. Anyone can obtain free bike repair service by volunteering only one hour in exchange. This is a great way to help out others and learn repair skills that will save you time and money.
A clean bicycle not only looks nice, but it’s also easier to work on, smoother to ride, and will last longer. Here is a good article to learn how to clean your bike the right way from Jim Langley. Please read his note below on NOT using a high pressure hose.
While it may seem like you can just blast your bike clean in seconds with a high-pressure hose, that’s a terrible mistake you never want to make. High-pressure water, especially sprayed from the side, will blast the grease and lubricants right out of the components, such as the hubs, bottom bracket and headset. And it’s a big job to get the water out and fresh grease back in. That’s why you always just trickle the water over the frame from the top when washing and rinsing.
Flat tires are due to a lose of air from the inner tube that the tire covers. This can happen from (i) puncture from an object through the tire and into the inner tube, (ii) leak from the valve, and perhaps the most common type (iii) pinched inner tube against the rim.
The easiest way to prevent pinch flats is to ride with your tires at their correct pressure. This is critical for the high pressure tires of road bikes. Use a floor pump with a pressure gauge to maintain your road bike tires around 95 psi. Its normal for air to slowly leak out of the tube, so you will usually have to refill your tubes about once a week.
In case you do get a flat while out riding, make sure you have all the parts to change your inner tube. You may also want to ride with the directions on how to fix a flat from the side of the box your inner tube came in. Just watch this video to see how its done.
Here is a good video on how to clean and lubricate your chain. This woman really loves this White Lightning product, but many cleaners/lubes will work. Just make sure your product is biodegradable!