This post is part of the 21 Days to a Manlier Green series
Spring is here and it is time to bring your bike out of storage and start riding again. Or, maybe you never put your bike away and you’ve used it all winter. Either way, your bike could always use a good tune-up or check to make sure everything is cleaned, greased, tightened and in working order.
Today, bring out the tools, get a little greasy, and tune-up your bike.
Working on Your Vehicle (Bike)
A man working on his car is an iconic image of manliness. If you own a car built in the last 10 years, however, you might only be able to replace the oil and add window-washer fluid – even if that – given the technical complexity and build of many new cars.
With the onboard computers and monitoring systems built into cars today, it is near impossible to do work on your vehicle. If something goes wrong, you have to go a mechanic, hat in hand, and hope for mercy.
My first car was a 1965 Ford Supervan. There was nothing complex about that vehicle. I purchased a maintenance manual that detailed every nut and bolt, which I soon committed to memory.
That car is long gone, and I’ve now not owned a vehicle for more than 4 years. I am able to get around on my bike, with public transit, and on foot.
Much like working on my van, I’ve studied every square inch of my bike. I’m no bike expert, but I know the basics to keep my bike in running order. If you haven’t ever done any work on a bike, however, it can be a little intimidating.
If you want to take your bike skills beyond basic chain cleaning, filling your tires with air, and bolt tightening I recommend The Bicycling Guide To Complete Bicycle Maintenance & Repair. My version is filled with earmarks and grease stains. It is a great reference for all types of bikes and can teach you some pretty technical skills.
But maybe the idea of building a wheel or overhauling a headset is not what you think of as a fun time and you just want to make sure your bike is ready to ride, the Complete Bicycle Maintenance & Repair will still be a great resource.
General bike tune-up skills will take you a long way. I like to summaries a bike check into the following basic idea: the parts that move should move freely without sound or friction and the things that aren’t supposed to move should be snug and tight.
Here is a Daily ABC Bike Checklist to make sure your bike is tuned and ready to roll. Doing these quick checks each day will ensure that your bike rides smoothly and is safe.