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Life Skills 101: Bicycle Maintenance and Care (Part 3 of a 3 Part Series for Biking Missionaries)

Posted on July 13 2018

With so many missionaries serving in missions with biking areas we thought it was important to help educate missionaries on basic bicycle maintenance and bike repairs that may happen to them while in the field. We paired up with the Provo Bike Collective to make a video tutorial for you.

This video is part three in the bicycle maintenance series. You can find the link to the video here or read below for video content. 

In this video tutorial Austin covers how to properly maintain your bicycle to help it function better and last longer for you on the mission as well as what basic tools you should have with you if you are in a biking mission and will be using your bicycle daily. 

 Austin explains that the most important thing you need for your biking area is a good bike lock. 

"A good bike lock is generally a U-lock. It has a steel bolt, it opens with a key and if you are using only this lock you will want to lock it to the frame and something fixed that people can't steal. Always stay away from cable locks because cable locks can be cut much easier than a U-lock. 

The second thing you want to have with your bike is a good set of lights. This is important because it will keep you safe. If you are riding before sunrise, after sunset, you need to have lights by U.S. Law and then for common sense, for your safety. 

The third thing you will need to have is a good helmet that fits you well. A good helmet should feel snug but not tight. If you bend over it shouldn't fall off your head, even if it is unclipped. When you strap it on you want to make sure that it is tight enough that it won't go anywhere if you are in a crash. 

The fourth thing you want if you are going to be biking in a cold area is a hat to cover your ears and head and gloves to cover your hands. These areas will get a lot of wind when you are riding your bike. 

Fifth, you are going to want some chain lube.

Sixth, When you get a flat tire you are going to want a way to fix it on the go. So to do that you are going to need a patch kit that has patches, glue and sandpaper. You need tire levers and a hand pump that can inflate the tire after you patch it. 

Lastly, number seven, you want a multi-tool. Tools like this have lots of different tools that are commonly used on the bicycle and you never know when you are going to need one of these." 

Any of these tools can be purchased directly from the Provo Bike Collective or at your local bike shop or department store. 

 

Austin also discussed what maintenance should be performed on your bike to keep it functioning at its best. 

"Now I'm going to talk to you guys about the three most important maintenance tips for taking care of your bicycle. 

1. Keep your bike locked up and safe. 

When you aren't using it your bike needs to be somewhere safe where people aren't going to steal it. The best place to keep your bicycle is inside your house and that is because it is kept out of the weather and kept out of the vision of thieves. 

If you can't keep it inside of your house you will want to lock it somewhere covered so that it is out of the weather but still safe. 

2. Inflate your tires weekly, if not daily. 

On the side wall of your tires it will tell you how much pressure you should have."

Austin then explains that his own tire tells him the max inflation is 55 lb per square inch. 

"When inflating your tires you'll want to take off the valve cap, connect the pump, and depending on the type of valve you have; if your pump has two holes you'll stick the small, whats called presta, valve into the smaller hole or if you have the bigger, straighter valve, which is more common, you'll stick it into the bigger hole of the pump. Some pumps are universal and they will take both. 

When inflating it remember the pressure that you decided on. Pump it up to that pressure and then go ahead and give it a little squeeze. Feel the tire. Remember what that feels like so when you are pumping it up in the future, if you have a pump without a gauge, you know about where you should pump it up to. 

When you're done make sure to screw the valve cap back on so that it stays nice and clean. 

3. Keep your drive train system clean and lubricated.

The drive train is the chain rings, chain, cassette and derailleurs. You'll notice all of it is metal and of course metal on metal creates a lot of friction when its spinning. So every two weeks to a month, depending on what the weather is, you'll want to clean it and lubricate it.

Now, what I'm going to be showing you- first I'll clean it. I'm using a professional grade degreaser. If you don't have this, dish soap and water does a great job. So I will spin the chain and spray some on. Then I'll take a rag I don't care about, maybe an old t-shirt, pants, whatever, and cut it up.  I'll go ahead and spin the chain as I hold it. If your chain is dirty like mine you'll notice all sorts of gunk coming off of it and that's a great thing." 

Austin then continues to spin the chain and clean it with the rag until he has cleaned the entire chain. 

"Once its finally clean and you rub your hands on it and your hands don't get dirty, you'll want to wipe off other things; the derailleur, especially the wheels, the chain rings. They can get dirty too. You'll notice the chain will be a lot shinier after you clean it. Now, once you've gotten to the point when you think it's ok or its pretty clean then you'll want to take your chain lube, shake it up and as you are spinning it let it drop onto the chain. Once the chain is sufficiently coated, again- you want to be pretty liberal with it. Coat the chain well, then you will want to take the rag and wipe off the excess chain lubricant. The reason we are doing this is so its not wet and it doesn't attract dirt when you're riding. If you don't wipe off the excess lubricant you chain will get dirtier quicker. So in the end your chain will be clean, lubricated, you'll notice it will shift a lot better and this whole system here will last hundreds of miles longer. 

I showed you this on a professional bike stand. Most of the time at home you're not going to have something like this so what you can do instead is flip the bike over and work on it upside down." 

 

That's it! You've done it! Those three easy steps will help you to keep your bike functioning better and longer. They don't take much time to complete and you won't regret doing it.