Bike Maintenance

There’s nothing quite like that feeling you get when you take your bike out for it’s first ride after a service.

All the squeaks and rattles have gone, along with that strange grinding noise that you could never quite pinpoint, and it’s like your beloved ride has been transported back in time. You re-live the joyous elation you felt on the day the bike was brand new. The ride is smooth, and the brakes and gears both respond quickly and effectively.

It’s amazing what a couple of hours of tender loving care can do to the quality of your ride. And it’s often not until you feel the improvements that you realise how slow and clunky your bike had got. The degradation to your bicycle happens so slowly, with the gradual build-up of grime, that you don’t notice.

Most of us put off servicing our bikes until they get really bad, and as such the difference after the service can be huge. The invoice from the bike shop can also end up being huge, if we’ve left it too long and trashed some of the components.

Lots of nuts and bolts!
Lots of nuts and bolts!

So what do you do, to stop it getting that bad? We all know we should get our bikes serviced more often, but the time/money involved often limits our aspirations.

Some cyclists suggest that we should all learn to perform repairs ourselves, and it’s no harm knowing how to do some of the basics (like repairing a puncture or changing brake pads), but a lot of people feel more comfortable leaving it to a professional.

As part of my recent bike purchase the shop gave me 2 years’ free servicing, which to me is a great encouragement to take that bike in for a regular check-up. I’m much more likely to get a little niggle sorted out if I know it won’t cost me any money.

Maybe there’s an untapped market out there for bicycle service contracts, whereby people are covered for all repairs. For a fixed annual cost, you can insure yourself against the cost of parts and labour in the event of a problem. After all you can get insurance to cover theft and accidental damage – so why not get that extended to cover regular maintenance.

Maybe retailers should also follow the example of the motor trade, and schedule people in for a regular service, say every 6 months of so. It would prompt people to keep their bike in tip-top condition.

After all, it’s so much more fun to ride a well maintained bike!

Richard Bloomfield

Richard is the founder of Dublin Bike Blog. He commutes to work every day by bike, come rain or shine, on his Dutch city bike. You can read more from Richard on his blog

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