Workshop Essentials: Get Geared For A New Year Of Riding!
Now that 2015 has finally arrived, it’s time to bring your maintenance up to scratch for a fresh approach to the New Year. Proper maintenance can only take place when you’ve got the correct tools, parts, oils and a decent place to work; here, we’re going to run through a checklist of the essentials bits and pieces, mention some optional extras for the real enthusiast and talk about a few important checks that you can do at home before you get out on the road this year. A new year brings in a fresh start, so make your cycling life easier by properly maintaining your bike – regularly!
Whether you’re an old hand at the cycling lark or a new recruit for the New Year, you won’t be able to get very far without having a few crucial items in stock. Sure, it’s said that all you need to start cycling is a bit of enthusiasm and a bike and while that’s true to some degree you might want to have a few more tools in your arsenal, otherwise you won’t be cycling for very long!
The next time you check into your local bike shop, be sure to pick these essentials up:
- A few spare tubes
- A puncture repair kit
- An air pump
- Tyre levers
- A set of Allen keys (either a multl-tool set or the standard arrangement!)
These items should be carried with you on your regular rides – you might not need the spare tubes but a puncture repair kit is essential!
At home, you’ll want a few more extras on hand to make sure that your wheels keep on turning; you don’t have to outfit your shed into a professional mechanic’s workshop but a few extra tools can really help you out. Make sure you’ve got these:
- A pressure gauge
- A small, adjustable spanner
- A heavy-duty multi-tool (or a standard multi-purpose tool kit!)
- A chain splitter
- A variety of lubricants
- Replacement nuts and bolts
- A roll of gaffer tape
With those basic tools, you’ll be able to perform minor miracles. If you want to go the whole hog and make your garage look professional, you can always invest in these items (although they’re not essential to the casual rider!):
- A torque wrench
- A repair stand
- A cable puller
- A cable cutter
- A truing stand
- A truing gauge
You could have these optional extras but they’re not essential. In fact, it’s better to go to a professional bicycle mechanic if you’ve got any major problems; you run the risk of making everything worse if you do it yourself and bicycle mechanics need our support!
The Pre-Ride Inspection List!
Now that you’re armed with the right tools, it’s time to put them to work; give your bike a good check-up before hitting the roads this year. Make sure you look at these important areas:
- Your tyres – check the pressures and condition of both of your tyres. Pressures are easily adjusted but if your tyre looks worse for wear, head back to the shop and invest in a new one!
- Your brakes – make sure they actually stop you…but not too aggressively!
- The nuts and bolts – inspect every nut and bolt; make sure they’re all tight and that nothing is about to fall off!
- Lubrication – while you’re moving around looking for nuts and bolts, check out for any dry surfaces that need to be lubricated.
- Riding position – next, check that you haven’t grown too much in the last year by testing your saddle height and handlebar position. Make it perfect for your shape!
- Visibility – lastly, make sure that your reflectors and lights are in place and functioning. It’s all very well having reflectors and lights but if they fail to reflect or produce light, they’re no good to you!
The majority of these tasks are pretty straightforward but if you get stuck, check online for help, advice or ridicule. There are plenty of tutorial videos and ‘how-to’ guides out there! Check them out and before you know it, you’ll be a maintenance guru!