Blown Bicycle Tire Reminds Me I Need to Learn Basic Bicycle Maintenance
The weather has been sunny and beautiful this past week! Which always excites me; because it means I can start riding my bicycle every day instead of driving my car. I rode my bicycle to almost all my client appointments along with running errands on every day except a couple. Need to work the leg muscles a bit more to ride all the way to Post Falls, plus I don’t have a way to haul large amounts of groceries from a Costco trip yet. Except for the Post Falls Costco day, and yesterday on a grocery run, I was on my bike for everything else. That is until Friday afternoon; when on my way back from picking up a few things at Pilgrim’s Market…my tire blew!
Now I felt the warning signs on the trip out from my house to my first stop to check the mail at the UPS Store on Government Way just north of Appleway Ave. There was a slight wobble in the back tire that I had felt the last time the sidewall of my tire blew out (but I was only a short distance from home that time). I just told myself it was because the streets were more uneven than what I was riding earlier. I managed to make it from the UPS Store to Duncan’s Pet Shop to pick up puppy treats, then to a lunch date with a friend at Capone’s on Fourth Street, then over to Pilgrim’s Market for some grass fed burger and a bottle of wine. I made it approximately two blocks from Pilgrim’s when it happened. Like a gun shot, the explosion of my back tire echoed through the neighborhood. So here I am several blocks from my house with a backpack full of dog treats carrying a reusable Pilgrim’s grocery bag full of the evening’s dinner.
Lucky for me Tom was home from a day of quoting air conditioners and doing some furnace repair work and was able to come rescue me at about the halfway mark between Pilgrim’s and home. But, the lesson to be learned here is…learn basic bicycle maintenance and pay attention to the warning signs! Wobble in the tires means be prepared to be walking or get it fixed.
To help out here are three basic bicycle repair tips to hopefully help you avoid carrying groceries while pushing your bike!
Every cyclist should put together a basic toolkit to carry along with them as they ride. The kit should include a bike tire pump with built-in pressure gauge, Torque and regular wrenches, tire levers, spare inner tubes, a tire patch kit, a chain tool, a few extra links, and lubricant. A lot of these items can be found in smaller versions so they won’t weigh you down.
1. Avoid a Flat
Check your tire pressure. Find the intended air pressure range that is specific to your tires. It is usually printed on the smooth side of the tire. Use a bike pump with a built-in tire pressure gauge; avoid gas station air pumps they can easily cause a blow out because of too much pressure.
You should always travel with a spare inner tube or at the very least a patch kit, just in case.
2. Tighten Your Nuts and Bolts
Bicycles are held together by nuts and bolts and it is a good idea to make sure all hardware is secure. Main problem areas are the handlebars, stem, and seat post. Invest in a torque wrench they are very accurate and take the guesswork out of tuning. These wrenches have measurements so the user can control the amount of force applied. Check in the bike’s manual for information about bolt tightening, and then attach everything correctly the first time. Once the bolts are torqued there is no need to re-tighten every ride just keep an eye out for loose or rattling parts.
3. Chain Slippage
But putting the chain back on is pretty simple and requires no tools at all! Here’s what to do:
- Place the chain back in the bottom groove in the rear cog first.
- When the chain is attached to the cog, drape the chain over the teeth on the top of the front chainring. The last step is to re-connect the rear cog set and front chainring. Once the chain is in the right place, slowly turn the pedal forward, which will pull the chain around the entire chainring and back to the cog set.
Thank you Greatist for the tips I used here and you can read the entire article at http://greatist.com/fitness/bike-repair-maintenance-guide
Lucky for me, I have more than one bicycle that I can ride. The tire being blown on my mountain bike won’t stop me from being able to get out and ride this coming week. But, these tips will help me to make sure my road bike and my vintage cruisers are ready to head out onto the road! Plus, not all of us own more than one bicycle, these can hopefully help you keep rolling!