Regular checks to make on your bike
Push the tyres hard with your thumb. If they're too hard to make a dent, that's perfect. If you can make a dent, pump them up. Ideal tyre pressure is printed on the side of the tyre.
Replace your tyres if the tread is worn down or if you see splits, cracks or tears along the sides.
Take a look. Brake pads should be more than 3mm thick.
Pads should touch the wheel rim fully when the brake levers are squeezed halfway. If you have to squeeze all the way, the brake cables need tightening.
Frayed brake cables need replacing. Head to your bike shop.
Check the brakes work before you ride. If the brake lever feels spongy, it may be time to change the hydraulic fluid in your brake lines. A shop or bike mechanic can get this done.
Gears and chain
Clunky gear changes make it harder to keep control when you ride. Test gear changes at home — this is easier with two people. Lift the back wheel and turn the pedals while you change gears.
Here are signs you need a bike mechanic to fix things:
- rough or no gear changing
- broken teeth on the gear cogs
- frayed gear cables
- wobbly derailleur (the gear changing device)
Keep the chain lubricated. Buy a can of chain lube. Turn the bike upside down. Use an old rag to remove dirt. Apply a light coating of chain lube while slowly rotating the pedals. Wipe off excess lube with a clean rag.
Turn the bike upside down. Check both wheels are firmly attached to the frame. Spin the wheels. There should be no sideways wobble. If they wobble, take it to the bike shop.
Check the quick release levers on wheels, and on the seat. These swing through 180 degrees and begin to get tight from 90 degrees. Close them all the way.
Handle bars and frame
Stand over the front wheel and hold it firm between your legs, then try to turn the handlebars firmly. If you can twist the handlebars out of place, you need to tighten the bolts on the handlebar stem with an allen key — or pop into a bike shop for help.
Inspect the frame for cracks, especially on older bikes. If you spot a crack, don't ride.
You must wear a safety standard approved helmet. Check for the sticker.
The helmet should be on straight. The front should sit two finger widths above your eyebrows.
If there's any strap damage or cracks in the shell, throw away the helmet. Buy a new one.
Bike maintenance videos
Videos courtesy of Auckland Transport.