A well-maintained bike is a pleasure that you can enjoy for many years. Here are a number of tips to keep your two-wheeled mode of transport in tip-top shape.
An easy wax job
Instead of using liquid or paste wax and spending time applying the wax to the bike’s various tubes, joints and hard-to-reach spots, all you really need to do is spray the bike all over with a furniture polish that contains wax — something you probably already have around the house.
Salt can cause metal to rust — yet it can also be used to remove rust. (Go figure.) If any rust spots appear on the handlebars or wheel rims of your bike, try this home remedy. In a small container, mix 120 millilitres (1/2 cup) of salt with 30 millilitres (two tablespoons) of lemon juice to make a paste. Apply the paste to the rusted area with a dry cloth and rub it in. Rinse and dry it thoroughly.
Squeaky clean chain
The hardest part of a bicycle to clean is the chain. But you can make the job easier by using a multi-purpose lubricant. Turn the bike upside down and spray some of the lubricant onto a soft, clean cloth. Rub the chain with the cloth a few links at a time. Move the pedals forward to work on a new section of chain. Once the entire chain is clean, carefully dislodge it from the chain ring (the metal-toothed wheel that engages it) and use a screwdriver or dull knife to remove any gunk that’s lodged between the chain ring’s teeth.
That done, use a cloth to polish between the teeth with a back-and-forth flossing motion, and then re-set the chain. To keep the chain of your bicycle running smoothly, spray it with a lubricant and wipe off any excess with a soft cloth. You can also spray the lubricant into the cables and bearings to drive out moisture, and then on the springs in the seat to eliminate squeaking. Finally, spray the frame of the bike to keep dust from sticking to it.
Quick tire patch
If a sharp rock or anything else in the roadway slashes your tire, you can patch the puncture in the inner tube — but it will bulge out through the slash in the tire when you try to ride. How to prevent the bulge? After patching the inner tube, fold a five dollar bill in quarters and tuck it between the inner tube and the tire slash — a quick fix that should hold you for the ride home.
You know how susceptible bikes are to theft — and even if your bicycle has a serial number engraved on its frame, thieves can easily file it off. To make sure you can identify your bike should you ever find it in someone else’s possession, remove the seat of the bike, roll your business card or a similar ID around a pencil and push it inside the pipe supporting the seat. Once the seat is back in place, no one will think to look there. And won’t the new bike “owner” be surprised when you disassemble the bike seat and pull out your ace in the hole!
Bent bike wheel fix
If one of your bicycle wheels gets bent and you don’t have any tools at hand, try this temporary fix: Remove the wheel and smack it against a nearby tree. Check it for alignment and then smack it again if necessary. When the wheel looks reasonably straight, put it back on the bike and, if feasible, ride to the nearest bike shop to have the wheel repaired or buy a new one.
Riding a bike is a great way to get around town, or tour the countryside. These handy fix-it and maintenance tips will help you keep your bike in tip-top shape for many years of cycling pleasure.