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Maintenance

Bicycle Maintenance

Avoiding Flat Tires

Flats happen. Here are a few things you can do to reduce their frequency:

  1. Tires: The best way to avoid flats is to have good tires. A well-made tire can withstand more stress than an economy "mart-store" tire. Get yourself some good tires.
  2. Heavy-Duty Tubes: They cost a little more, but they resist punctures. Because heavy-duty tubes are about three times thicker they'll add a little weight, but that's a small price to pay for reliability.
  3. Tire Liners: This is a plastic strip that wraps around the inside your tire and provides a protective layer to keep your tubes safe from minor punctures. Mr. Tuffy is a well know brand.
  4. Slime Tire Sealant: Slime is a green fluid that you pump into your existing tubes. It works great.  The slime fills a fresh puncture hole where it clots and seals the hole. Stops most flat tires.
  5. Proper Tire Inflation: Improperly inflated tires can result in "snakebites," so named for the slit-like punctures that result from a sharp impact that pinches the inner tube between the rim and the obstacle. The best prevention is proper tire inflation. Always inflate your tires to the pressure stamped on the side of the tire. Check the tire pressure every month.

Changing A Flat Tire

  1. Use tire levers, or another blunt object (not a screwdriver) to pry off old tire.    
  2. Check the inside of the tire by looking and feeling for any  foreign sharp objects that may cause flats, and remove them. 
  3. If the tire shows excessive tread wear, cuts, or any casing damage, replace the tire immediately.
  4. Check the inside of the rim for spoke protrusions or sharp edges and file until smooth, if necessary.
  5. Be sure the rim strip covers all spoke ends and spoke nipples completely.
  6. Mount one side of tire on rim by hand using no tools.
  7. Inflate tube slightly (just enough to mold tube into shape).
  8. Insert valve into rim hole and tuck the tube neatly all the way around the inside of the tire without twisting or bunching up the tube.
  9. Using ONLY your hands and thumbs, start at the valve area and roll the second side of the tire onto the rim, working your way around the rim until the tire is mounted.  The last few inches is the hardest part, but DO NOT USE ANY TOOLS. Tire levers are used for removing tire only, never for installing, since they often will pinch the new tube. For the last few inches, you may want to let as much air out of the tube as possible by depressing the valve and squeezing the tire. 
  10. Partially inflate tire and check that the tube is fully enclosed by tire, and the sides of the tire are evenly seated around the rim. Inflate tire to proper pressure (marked on the side of the tire) using a bicycle pump only. Constantly check tire for proper seating around the rim while inflating.  Many blow-outs occur at this point, because of improper tire seating. DO NOT USE A SERVICE STATION PUMP.

Lubricating a Chain

It's important to lubricate the chain frequently, at least once a month, or more often when riding in wet weather. Before lubricating the chain, first wipe off excess gunk with an old rag. You should also clean the cogs, chainwheels, and especially both pulleys in the rear derailleur. Lubricate the chain  liberally with a good quality spray lubricant, then, wipe off the excess lube.


Check out Park Tool Company's Bicycle Maintenance & Repair Site