Meridian News
Bicycle Maintenance and Repair: What You Should Know Before You Hit the Road
February 15, 2018

Last year my running group became a cycling group. For more than five years, my closest friends and I have trained for half or full marathons together. Within weeks of completing last year’s Land Run 100 50K we all started shopping for bikes.

The transition to cycling has brought a host of new adventures, but it’s also brought a few challenges. The biggest of them is bicycle maintenance and repair. This edition of TRIO focuses on the three common repairs that new cyclists should master before hitting the gravel or the road.

1. Fixing a Flat

Whether your bike uses traditional tires or tubeless tires, knowing how to fix a flat is something that all riders should know how to do. Always carry a spare inner tube, a CO2 inflation system or a traditional air pump. Tire levers make removing the tire from the rim a lot easier, so make sure you pack those too! This article provides a list of essential bike repair tools that you might want to have each time you go for a ride. Having the right tools is half of the battle. You also need to know how to use them. When I had my first blowout, I had to rely on my friends to do all of the work. After that misadventure, I found this video that offers step-by-step instructions on how to safely change a tire and get back on the road.

2. Reattaching a Slipped Chain

If you’ve been on a bike for any amount of time, chances are you’ve experienced a chain coming off mid-pedal. This is a common issue, but it’s also one that’s easily resolved. If possible, flip your bike upside down. This makes it easier to put the chain back on the gears. Put the chain around the smallest gear on the back of the bike first. Next, put some of the chain around the big front gear. Keep one hand on the chain and then slowly start moving the pedals. Within a few rotations, the chain will reattach to the gears. If you find that your chain is slipping on a regular basis, this article offers simple fixes for common chain issues.

3. Cleaning and Lubing the Derailleur

Last year after the race my friends and I heard cyclists talk about breaking their derailleur. None of us knew what a derailleur was, but we knew that it was devastating when it was damaged. We have since learned that the derailleur consists of a chain, multiple sprockets of different sizes, and a mechanism to move the chain from one sprocket to another. To ensure smooth shifting and reduce derailleur damage, riders should clean their rear derailleur once a month. The only tools needed are an old toothbrush and solvent to scrub away dirt and debris. Once the derailleur is completely dry, lube any part of it that moves, wiping away excess lube with a soft cloth. This article offers tips on lubing bike components, including the derailleur.

If you’re interested in learning more about repairing your own bike, sign up for our Bicycle Maintenance and Repair class. Call 405.377.3333 with questions or register here. To find out about more courses like this sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. View all of our upcoming courses in our digital catalog.

Cara Adney is the Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator at Meridian Technology Center.

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