Nobody wants to have anything to do with breaking their bones or bikes, and therefore some rules are not meant to be broken. Sometimes you think what you’re doing is benefiting your bicycle, but it’s the other way around. Make sure to avoid these five things.
- Doing your own maintenance.
Isn’t it easier to handle and fixing loose chains or bolts yourself than paying a bicycle mechanic? Sometimes you just have to seek someone professional to help you, even for minor issues. Not having the proper tools will make it worse and you might pay more than you should if you fixed the parts wrongly and caused a major problem. When you think you had just fixed your bike off minor problems, you might face a bigger problem when you start cycling. Most accidents and injuries are mainly the result of poor maintenance of the bike. Over lubing your bike can cause your bike to suck dirt and grit into your drivetrain. Just leave it to the pros.
- Laying it down on its drive side.
The drive side of your bike is the side where the chain ring, cassette and derailleurs are. However, if you have to put it down on the ground, make sure that the drive side is always facing the sky. Derailleur is a device on a bicycle or any motor vehicle that controls the shifting of gears, and is the most delicate component of your bicycle and may easily bend. The safest way is to install a kiskstand and not lay it on the floor.
- Keeping your bicycle outside overnight, unlocked.
Leaving your bike outside unguarded, let alone unlocked, will attract people wanting to steal your ride, especially during late at night. According to the National Bike Registry and the FBI, more than $350 million worth of bicycles are stolen each year. You might leave it for just a split second to get something from the convenient store, someone will be there watching and waiting for the right moment.
Even if your bike is securely locked outside, never leave it overnight. Rain, snow and morning dew can wreck your bike without you noticing it, like causing your chains and other components to rust. Keep it inside your house or your garage, and if it is getting in the way, try installing a wall-mounted bike rack.
- Over or under-inflate your tires.
It is important to check your tire pressure constantly and avoid riding at the wrong PSI (pounds per square inch). Sometimes low pressure tires are easier to handle and challenge rough terrains, but how low is too low? Just don’t go too low. Low air pressure can easily lead to pinch flat (snakebite puncture) and prematurely wear out your rubber tires. Check the correct tire pressure displayed on the side of your bicycle, for a more exact scale to follow. The pressure on your bicycle also depends on your weight.
- Putting it away dirty.
After a ride through wet and dusty terrains and roads, be sure to wipe and clean your bicycle frame and give the drivetrain a little splash. Sometimes the dirt and mud will calcify and damage your bike components, especially the cassettes. Don’t waste money on fixing calcified parts because of your laziness to clean it.