Cyclone Festival of Cycling, an event for riders of all abilities and ages

Cyclone Festival of Cycling

12 Treherne Road, High West Jesmond, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne NE2 3NP

+44 (0)7710 635514

Looking After Your Bike

Looking After Your Bike

November 18, 2020 | 4years | GENERAL

A good cleaning and fettling routine is essential if you are to keep you bike running sweetly. Here are a few tips to help you out!

Cleaning: Cleaning and re-lubing your bike is always important after a wet ride. Get yourself organised so the cleaning equipment is to hand when you come home. Avoid abrasive cleaning detergents - car shampoo is a good addition to your armoury, alongside a bicycle-specific de-greaser for your chain.

Make sure you only degrease the chain and its immediate contact areas - keep clear of hubs, bottom bracket and other bearings. A stiff hand-brush will help with the chain cleaning, whilst a couple of sponges can tackle paintwork etc. Rinse well with clean water to remove degreaser and the filth it has dislodged.

Re-Lubrication: A winter/wet lubricant should take care of the chain in damp conditions, whilst a "dry" lube covers off summer conditions - wipe off the excess before putting your bike away. A water-dispersant spray applied judiciously to the rest of your bike will help protect the bearings from water ingress and make future cleaning a lot easier. Don't forget vulnerable areas like around the seat clamp and both derailleurs. On a bike with disc brakes, you can use the spray on rims and spoke nipples, to help protect the wheels. but, whether you have rim or disc brakes, keep lubricants away from pads and braking surfaces and from the tyres.

Wheels, Tyres & Brakes: Wheel rims and tyres deserve extra attention on a regular basis. Rim brakes work much better if the braking surface is regularly scrubbed clean. Tyres should be kept clean too, enabling you to make regular inspections on the centre tread for cuts, tears and embedded objects, such as glass or flints. Ease these foreign bodies out with a fine screwdriver or knife blade. Replace tyres well before they are completely worn out - learn how wear indicators work (these are small cylindrical indentations in the centre of the tread. If they are close to disappearing, your tyres are shot!).

Brake blocks and brake pads should be inspected regularly and, like tyres, replaced well before they are on their last legs. Rim brake blocks ideally need a regular scrub to remove rim dust, which can build up and add to wear of the rim. Brakes need to be kept in tip-top condition, so keep an eye on cables and replace if they are becoming stiff, or if there's any sign of fraying or rust. Consider purchasing a set of winter wheels if your run high-specification wheels on your bike. Winter tyres are an option, especially if you ride urban roads with glass and other harmful rubbish in the gutters. Though it's equally important to make sure tyres are not worn.

Recently, wider tyres (30mm and upwards) have gained popularity, with evidence suggesting that they are no slower than thinner tyres, whilst offering better protection from punctures, potholes and more grip in the corners. However, most rim-braked bikes have smaller clearances for tyres than disc-braked bikes. So check before buying - there needs to be room between tyre and frame to allow for the clearance of small stones etc.

Other Things to Consider

  • Mudguards will keep you and your bike a lot cleaner during a ride and make it more pleasant for others to ride with you. There's an expanding range of "clip-on" options that will fit most road bikes. A great winter option!
  • Also on the theme of protecting your bike in winter, buying a winter bike is a luxury that not everyone can afford, but if you can scrape together the cash for a Cyclo-Cross or Gravel bike, you'll open up a lot of new riding opportunities as well as gain a rugged bike with a wide range of gear rations and, quite likely, mounts for mudguards.
  • Lights are an essential part of virtually any winter bike rides. Make sure you have a couple of sets and set up a charging station to keep them topped up. Doubling up on rear lights on every ride is always a good plan, just in case one goes out and you don't sport it.
  • Try to keep you bike in a dry place - if it has the opportunity to dry off properly between soakings and washes, it will benefit hugely.
  • Finally, cultivate a strong relationship with your local bike shop. Shop around till you find one that you gel with and then stick to using them. Bike shops are the life-blood of cycling!
  • Oh, and don't forget to enter a Cyclone event and give yourself some super motivation for your training rides!

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