Jun 20 2008
A bike is no different than a car — both require regular maintenance. But unlike the car, a lot of the routine maintenance and mechanical tasks to keep your bike in top shape are within the grasp or anyone who has modest dexterity and tinkering skills. Every cyclist should know how to lube the drive train, change a punctured tube and inflate tires roadside, adjust brakes, check headset security, and a host of other things that keep us safe and our bikes happy. As I work on mechanical projects, I’ll add more tips from my own experience, so check back for more in the coming months.
There’s more. Few cyclists are satisfied with their bikes right off the showroom floor or out of the box. We like to make adjustments, add stuff, remove bits, and generally customize and personalize our steeds. That makes practical sense if you intend to use your bike for commuting, shopping, or touring. And there’s technique to consider. How do you use bar-end shifters? How do you handle riding on dirt roads? Or climb hills? The articles below should help answer some common questions and concerns.
Come back often for new additions to our archive. And if there’s something you’d like to see addressed, just send an email.
- Surly Long Haul Trucker—There are Many Like it but This One’s MINE
- Touring Bikes for Short Folks
- A Bike for All Reasons? What to Look For in an All-Rounder
- Making Your Bike YOURS
- Getting Ready to Roll: Prepping a New Bike for the Road
- Outfitting Your Bike on a Budget
- A Black Day in Surlyville, or, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish
- Bicycling the Rough Stuff: The Pre-Ride Check
- When the Eyes Don’t Have It: Why You Need a Camera in Your Toolbox
- Petroleum Jelly: A Must-Have For Bike Mechanics
- Recycling Blown Inner Tubes
- Make Your Own Presta Valve Guard: Another New Use for Old Inner Tubes
- The Indispensable Coffee Can—Uses for Cyclists
- The Utility of Small Workstands for Your Bike
- The Topeak Flashstand: Good Enough, but…
- Doug DuBois’ DIY Bike Stand
- DIY Bike Racks at IKEA Hacker
- Heads Up! Do You Know Where Your Bike Is?
- Mike Hallack’s DIY Rec Rack: Can You Say Tidy?
- Tips for Novice Bike Mechanics—Getting a Different Perspective
- The Essential Saddle Bag and Tools
- Tool Up to Ride: Be Ready for Roadside Repairs
- Tool Up to Ride: The Big Picture
- A Cyclist’s Tool Roll in Three Easy Steps
- Another Tool Roll That Anyone Can Make
- From Chuck Davis’ Workshop: Make a Black & Decker Workmate into a Bike Stand
- From Chuck Davis’ Workshop: Make Your Own Handlebar Holder
- From Chuck Davis’ Workshop: Make Your Own Shop Bottom Bracket Tools
- From Chuck Davis’ Workshop: Building a New Old Commuting & Touring Bike
- A Clean Bike is a Happy Bike
- The Many Uses for Old Toothbrushes
- The Open Road Is Calling You—But Spring-Clean Your Bike First!
- Removing and Replacing Handlebars
- Prescription for Relief: How I Fought Riding Pain with a Short High Rise Stem
- A Grip on Handlebars: I Like ‘em Wide
- Gimme a Brake: Short Hands Get a Grip
- One Cyclist’s Answer to Numb Hands—Ergon Grips
- This Bar’s Corked! Improvising a Bar End Plug
- About Face… Your Stem’s Faceplate, That Is
- Bar-End Shifters: How to Remove and Install Them
- Making the Shift to Barcons… Or, Bar-End Shifter Savvy
- Bar-End Shifters: The Best I’ve Found, Bar None
- Bar-End Shifter Savvy: Making the Switch to Friction Shifting
- A Harrowing Tale of Bar-End Shifter Corrosion
- Swapping Tires and Changing Tubes Made Easy (Well, Easier, Anyway)
- Feeling a Little Flat Lately? Inspect Your Bike’s Tires
- How and Why to Fend(er) for Yourself: Finding Fenders for Your Bike
- There’s a Flap On! Or, What to Do When Fenders Aren’t Enough
- Getting a Grip: First Look at Innova Tundra Wolf Studded Tires
- A Day of Firsts: I Take the Tundra Wolves on the Road
- Neither Snow nor Ice… Studded Snow Tires Meet the Challenge
- Long Live the Queen! A Monark 10 Gets a New Crankset by Marcos Netto
- Use a Chain Wear Indicator to Improve Drivetrain Longevity
- Measuring Chain Wear on the Cheap
- Chain Reaction: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
- Projects for Novice Bike Mechanics—Changing Pedals
- Protecting Chainstays With Cable Wrap
- Cutting a Metal Seatpost Down to Size
- Adjusting Your Bike’s Saddle Position
- Finding Your Bicycling Bliss: Just Grab a Seat
- For Want of a Kickstand Plate: A Cautionary Tale for Touring Cyclists
- Need a Leg (or Two) to Stand On? Some Help in Choosing a Kickstand
- Evaluating the Pletscher Two-Legged Kickstand
- Mounting a One-Legged Kickstand
- A Free Carry-Along Kickstand Support
- Reflections on Pedals
- A DIY Light Mount for a Front Rack
- Totally Rad! Lighting Up My World With a Radbot 1000
- Let There Be Light: Tobie DePauw’s Ingenious DIY Headlight Mount
- Let There Be Light: The Lowdown on Alan Barnard’s Custom Fork Mounts
- Let There Be Light: Doug DuBois’ Elegant DIY Light Mount
- Let There Be Light! A DIY Light Bar for a Front Rack
- Swapping Out Water Bottle Cages
- A Clamp for Your Water Bottle Cage
- Design Matters: The Water Bottle Cage
- Looking for a Way to Mount Bottle Cages on Your Bars? You’re in Luck
- What Rearview Mirror Do You Use? Answering a Common Question
- Ding Ding! Finding Room for a Bike Bell
- The Nashbar Compass Bell: Simple and Good
- Bike Computers—Who Needs ‘em?
- Where On Earth Am I? My Garmin eTrex Legend HCx GPS Knows For Sure
- Pathfinder or Paperweight? Does Your GPS Have a Future?
- Hauling the Load: Fitting a Front Rack
- Fitting the Deck: A Rack Hack for a New Bag
- A Real Knockout of a Rack: The Planet Bike K.O.K.O.
- A DIY Light Mount for a Front Rack
- Hauling the Load and Shopping By Bike
- Louis Garneau Box HB-09 Handlebar Bag: A First Look
- Louis Garneau Box HB-09 Handlebar Bag Evaluated
- Second Thoughts: My Louis Garneau Handlebar Bag Lets Me Down
- My Louis Garneau Handlebar Bag’s Clamp Broke! But Nothing Was Lost
- Topeak Tour Guide Handlebar Bag: Tailoring the Fit by Marcos Netto
- Louis Garneau Profile RR-16 Rack Trunk: A First Look
- Louis Garneau Profile RR-16 Rack Trunk Evaluated
- Outfitting a Rack Trunk to Carry Camera Gear
- A Load
offon My Rack: The Delta Cycle Expandable Mega Wedge Bag
- You Get What You Pay For, Right? Consider the Nashbar Townie Pannier
- Axiom Champlain Rear Panniers: First Impressions
- Hanging Around With Axiom’s Champlain Rear Panniers
- Delta Compacts: Panniers for the Short Haul
- Don’t Have Enough Sense to Come Out of the Rain? Then You Need a Big Bag
- Bag It Better: Ric Ashcraft’s Tip for Keeping Your Pannier Contents Dry
- A Free Fix for the Light-Load Wobblies
- You Can Take it With You! (In the Profile Designs E-Pack)
- How to Retask a Tea Sack as a Snack Bag
- Making the Case: Free Gear From Your Pantry
Park Tool Repair Help: Park Tool is a manufacturer of some of the best bicycling tools, and their repair help pages are clear and concise. Performance Bike How-To Guides: Performance Bike, a major national retailer and mail-order outfit, offers help for beginning and experienced cyclists, alike. Check out their “Help Center.” JensonUSA Tech Library: Guides you toward learning more about bike components, and helps determine how to choose replacement parts. Bike Nashbar Cycling Tech Help: Sizing questions (clothes, bikes, and components) answered, links to manufacturers’ sites, instruction manuals, and more. Questions? Comments? Just click here!
The internet can be a good source for help when the time comes to tackle a job. Here are a few sites that are worth adding to your bookmarks or favorites:
The Bike Tutor: Bike repair video tutorials.
Park Tool Repair Help: Park Tool is a manufacturer of some of the best bicycling tools, and their repair help pages are clear and concise.
Performance Bike How-To Guides: Performance Bike, a major national retailer and mail-order outfit, offers help for beginning and experienced cyclists, alike. Check out their “Help Center.”
JensonUSA Tech Library: Guides you toward learning more about bike components, and helps determine how to choose replacement parts.
Bike Nashbar Cycling Tech Help: Sizing questions (clothes, bikes, and components) answered, links to manufacturers’ sites, instruction manuals, and more.
Questions? Comments? Just click here!