Below you will find some tips on maintenance and repair of your bike as well as suggestions on what to take on a ride.
Many thanks go to Steve Bruno for providing these valuable tips to us!
Maintenance Tips & Repair
Maintaining your own bike can be fun, but it can also be tricky at times to know which tools you will need to perform the service you want. Attempt to develop two sets of tools. One set for inside a seat bag for on-the-trail/road use, and another set for home use.
Before each Ride ...
Examine your Bike for any Cracks in the Frame and Fork.
Check that Handlebar is Tight by trying to move it while Holding the Wheel with legs.
Check for Play in the Fork by trying to move it from side to side to see if there is any Play in the Bearings.
Bearings should feel Free and Smooth.
Depress Suspension Fork to see if it is Smooth and not sticky and Lube the Stanchions.
Check that the Seat Post Clamp is Tight by trying to Move the Seat from side to side.
Check that the Seat Clamp is Tight by trying to Move the Seat up and down.
Check that the Pedals are Treaded in the Crank Arms all the way in.
Check to see if Crank Arm are tight and try to Move arms from side to side to see if
there is any Play in the Bearings. Bearings should feel Free and Smooth.
Turn Crank Arm backwards and inspect Chain for any Kinks and Tight Links.
With the Chain on the Largest Chain Ring up front, which is the Highest Gear,
check for excess Play which indicates Chain is over Stretched.
Check that the Chain is clean and well Lubed and follow Lube guidelines.
Inspect Chain Rings and Freewheel for any bent or missing Teeth.
Check for Worn, Thined or Checked Tires especially the Rear one, which gets more wear.
Check the Tire Pressure, which is written on side of Tire in PSI or Bars (1 Bar = 15 PSI).
Check that Wheels are in the Drop Outs, all the way, and the Quick Release Skewers are tight.
Check that the wheels are centered between the Fork and Frame Dropouts
Spin wheels to see if they are Straight and True and look for any loose or missing Spokes.
Try to Move Wheels from side to side to see if there is any Play in the Bearings.
Wheel Bearings should feel Free and Smooth when the Wheel is spinning in your hands.
Check and see if Brake Pads are not Worn down or Channeled.
Check to see if Brakes are not sticky and return to their original position.
Squeeze Brakes to see if they are Centered and hitting the Rim squarely.
Adjust the Cable Tension on the Brake Lever if Brakes feel too Soft or not Stopping.
Clean Rims and Brake Pads to remove Pad Residue that can build up.
Inspect that the Front Derailleur Arm is parallel to the Largest Chain Ring (High Gear).
Inspect that the Rear Derailleur Jockey Assembly is plumb to the Freewheel (Rear Gears).
Check to see if Shifter is moving the Derailleur in the front and the rear.
Adjusting the Derailleur is tricky and is an art that would require further training.
Cable tension could be done at the Shifter Adjusting Barrel on the Shifter.
Take a slow Test Ride and feel how the Bike handles and stops.
Listen for Creaks and Noises that are coming from the Bike and address the situation.
If at high speeds the Bike feels funny, stop and inspect Fork and Wheels.
These are regular things to check and could develop and change at any time.
It is also recommended to tighten all Nuts and Bolts annually to assure
that settling has not happened or that they have not stripped.
Now go Ride and have Fun!
Recommended bike maintenance and repair tools
Floor Pump with Dual Valve Head or Valve Adaptor changing Presta to Schrader
Bike Repair Stand or under Bottom Bracket Display Stand
Bike Cleaners for Components and Frame
Chain Scrubber and Chain Lube
Repair Manual (Park Big Blue Book of Bike Repair BBB-2 is highly recommended)
Complete set of Home Mechanic Bike Tools
Wheel Truing Stand
Recommended Tools to Carry With You On Rides
Bike Bag for Tools
Spare Inner Tube - match your Tire Size & Valve type
Inner Tube Patch Kit and Tire Levers (3 levers for road bikes)
Frame Mounted Tire Pump and Valve Adaptor changing Presta to Schrader
Multi Hex Tool w/ Chain Breaker and Spoke Wrench
Appropriate size Wrenches if Bike is not equipped with Quick Release Levers
Chain Connecting Link - check for right Chain Type & Speed (6, 7, & 8 same)
Chain Lube and Small Rag
Knife or any Cutting Tool
Chalk and Pencil and Paper
12” of Duct Tape around Pencil
Zip Ties or Tie Wire
Flashlight or Bike Light
Recommended Things To Bring On A Ride
Bike Bag for Gear
Helmet (check for any cracks)
ID along with Medical Info and emergency contact
First Aid Kit
Dog Repellant Spray / Water Bottle or Doggie Biscuits (Good Cop - Bad Cop)
Appropriate Clothing includes Padded Bike Shorts (unless you are on a recumbent!)
Padded Bike Gloves
Sunglasses or Eye Ware to keep Eyes free of debris
Sunscreen or Skin Lotion
Rain Gear, including plastic bags to protect Food and Gear
Visor or Ball Cap to keep glasses clear from Rain or Sun
Red Flashing Taillight for the Rear. A Front Light would help too.
Water Bottles with at least water
Food and Energy Supplements
Ride Map or GPS
Cell Phone or Walkie – Talkie
Extra Bike Bag for Camera or to hold collected thing from the trip.
Money for Phone or other Fun stuff
How to replace 11-32t cassette with 11-36t on a road bike