1. Keep your chain clean and lubed.
The easiest way to clean your chain is purchase a bicycle chain cleaning kit. The kit comes with a plastic clam-shell case that will enclose the chain while you pedal it through cleaning solvent. We strongly recommend a citrus (i.e. biodegradable) cleaning solvent.
Without a chain cleaning kit, use a sponge or soft bristle brush to wash your chain well, paying special attention to outer plates on the chain. Rinse the chain with clean water and wipe dry with a clean cotton rag. Re-lube the chain by dripping a recommended lubricant (e.g., TriFlow or ProLink) on the top of the chain as you pedal backwards slowly.
Let the bike sit for 10 minutes to allow the lubricant to work slowly into the chain. Take a clean cotton rag, hold it loosely on the chain and pedal backwards again. This allows the lube to work into the pins while removing any excess lube from the other plates of the chain.
2. Maintain correct tire pressure.
Check your tire pressure regularly and top off as needed. If you run low tire pressure, you have a much higher chance of getting pinch flats and will need to replace tires long before the tread is worn due to the cracks in the sidewall. Purchasing a good quality floor pump with a gauge is highly recommended and will save you aggravation and money in both the short and long term.
3. Remember to schedule regular tune-ups and replace parts as they wear out.
Schedule a yearly tune-up before the start of each riding season. Replace brake pads and cables as often as necessary. Depending on the type of bike, your style of riding and variety of weather conditions being ridden in, this might be every 2,000 miles or less. We strongly recommend a complete overhaul every 3,000 – 5,000 miles to keep your bike rolling.
4. A clean bike is a happy bike.
Keep your bike clean. If you get caught in the rain, dry your bike off when you get home and re-lube the chain. After a ride, wipe down the frame with citrus degreaser, then use a polish (e.g. Pedros Bike Lust) to protect the frame. A clean bike looks great and clean parts last longer. Don’t be lazy.
5. Empower yourself: take a class!
Blue Sky Bicycles offers FREE Fix-a-Flat and Basic Maintenance classes twice a month. Check the Events Calendar at http://www.blueskybicycles.com for the full schedule. Remember: flat tires will occur, but they are no big deal if you are prepared.