September has arrived and with it, the start of the new school year. Many of you will be out on the roads every day on your way to work, university or any other trip. We would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the steps to take and the things to check regularly to maintain your bike and ride safely. Bicycle maintenance should be carried out every month, but we recommend that you do a quick check on your daily outings.
Checking the condition of your bike's brakes is essential! The brake should slow down your speed as soon as you press the brake lever by just 2 or 3 centimetres. If you have to push the lever all the way down to start braking, you should turn the brake lever travel adjustment knob counter-clockwise to remedy the problem. Finally, check that the calipers and cables are tight. Damaged cables and sheaths can be dangerous for your safety! Check for visually frayed cables and deformed sheaths. You can't drive on the road if they are defective! Also check the brake pads and make sure you can still see the indicator on the side in contact with the rim: if not, they need to be changed. Make sure the pads are centred on the rim, but they should not touch the tyre or be under the rim but parallel to it. Similarly for the discs, if the pads are worn (less than a millimetre of pad) they should be changed.
Check the tyres on your bike. Check for hernias, cracks, crazing, and that the studs on a mountain bike and the grooves on a mountain bike or road bike are still present. Remember to ensure that your tyres have the correct pressure and re-inflate them when necessary (ideally every 2 weeks) with a suitable pump (Schrader or Presta). To do this, refer to the pressure indicated in Bar or Psi on the bike tyre. In general this rule applies:
Inflating a city bike and VTC: between 3.5 and 5 bars
Inflating a road bike: between 6 and 8 bars
Inflate a mountain bike: between 3 and 4 bars
Check the condition of the bike's wheels. Makesure your wheel is not warped. Turn the wheel, using the brake pad as a reference point. If the rim moves from left to right, we recommend that you have it professionally stripped if the warping is significant as it can throw you off balance. You should check the tension of the spokes by trying to manipulate them two by two to make sure they do not move. Lack of tension in the spokes can lead to breakage in the long run.
Check the bike's transmission. Visually check the condition of the chainrings, cassette and chain. Replace them in case of damaged or missing teeth and remember to degrease them if necessary. For smooth gear shifting, look for a gap between the chainring and the chain when the chain is placed on the large chainring, then change the chain.
An obvious and essential step is to clean the bike regularly and to make sure that the bike's components are tight. Whether it is the cables and calipers for the brakes or the stem (the handlebars must not rotate independently of the front wheel of the bike), the wheel nuts, the pedals or the derailleur fastening screws, regularly check that the various components are tight. Finally, check that your bike's lights are working properly, as they are required for riding.
Regular maintenance will ensure the longevity of your bike.
Stay tuned for more adventures with Paulette!
Find us and share your memories on Facebook and Instagram with #paulettebike. Don't forget to mention us: @paulettebike !