How to keep your bike rolling


Here are ways to keep each vital part of your bike in shape for spring cycling:


—Make sure they are properly in contact with the rim when the brakes are engaged. Pads should not hang under the rim or contact the tires. Check for wear on the brake pads.

—Scour the rim of your wheel with a mildly abrasive pad or fine steel wool to remove brake pad residue. Tires —Higher pressure means less rolling resistance and reduces the likelihood of pinch flats. It also means less traction and a harsher ride.

—Lower tire pressure results in a softer ride and more traction, but it requires more pedaling effort because of the increased rolling resistance.


—When you have the chain off, clean your derailleur with a solvent or hot, soapy water to dislodge the gunk.

—Ride the bike to make sure it is shifting properly. Go through the entire range of gears and listen for grinding or rubbing. The bike should shift quickly and not skip gears or change gears by itself.


—Check the air pressure in your shock. Check your owner’s manual for the proper pressure or go to the manufacturer’s website to find it. To check for leaks, put a little soapy water near the seals and watch for bubbles.

—Check for oil seeping or leaking out of the shock.


—Pedals should spin freely and SPD-style clipless pedals should easily engage and quickly release under the proper amount of lateral pressure. If they don’t, check your owner’s manual on how to adjust them.

—Cranks should periodically be detached from the bottom bracket, a task that requires a special tool.

—Bottom brackets should periodically be removed and inspected, which also requires special tools.


—The best way to clean it is to remove it from the bike by finding the master link or by using a chain breaker.

—Soak the chain in a solvent or hot water with a grease-cutting detergent and scrub it clean. Rinse it and allow it to dry, then lubricate it.