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Owning a Bicycle

Changing a Bicycle Tire >>

Before you can start to change your tire you will need a few simple tools. Most of these tools can usually be found around the house.

1. The necessary tools for the job are:
* New tires
* New tubes
* Tire pump
* Flat head screwdriver

• Bicycle pump
• Bucket of water
• Cloth
• Patch kit
• Spare tube
• Tire levers

1. First release the brake of the flat tire (the mechanism is found right above the wheel), then remove the wheel from the bicycle. Using two tire levers, insert them between the metal rim and the rubber tire bead (the curved edge that hugs the metal rim) on either side. Push both tire levers away from the wheel and remove one side of the tire bead. You need to remove only one side to change the tube.

2. Remove the valve cap (where you pump air into the tire), then pull the tube from inside the tire.

3. Carefully inspect both the tire and the tube for the cause of the flat by running a cloth inside the tire. Any sharp objects will snag the fabric. Remove the debris. Visually check the tire tread for other culprits or large cuts. Also make sure that no spokes or rough edges are rubbing along the inside of the metal rim.

4. Pump up the old tube until it just has some shape, then check for a leak. Dip the inflated tube into a bucket of water. If bubbles form, you’ll know the location of the hole.

5. Either repair the old tube using a bike patch kit or replace it with a new tube.

6. Take your patched or new tube and add a few pumps of air before inserting it back into the tire. First install the valve in the valve opening, then work the rest of the tube into the tire all the way around. Pull the rubber bead of the tire back toward the metal rim. The tire bead should drop down into the metal rim. The bead will become trickier toward the end. You can push the bead with your thumbs to make it fit.

7. Once the tire is attached to the wheel, it’s ready to be completely inflated. Look at the sidewall to find the recommended pressure. When inflating, make sure the tire is even and has no bulges or low spots.

8. Put the wheel back into place on the bike. Connect the brakes.


How to Wash Your Bike? >>

Cleaning your bike is the most important thing you can do to keep it running like new. A good rule of thumb is to clean your bike when your gears get greasy and dirty. Gears will usually get greasy after 4-7 rides but it depends on the distance and type of riding you're doing.

There are a few things I would get to properly clean your bike. A degreaser such as Simple Green, rubbing alcohol, bike wash such as Pedro's Bike Wash, a chain cleaner such as the Park Cyclone, rags and a brush. The following steps are what I do to clean my bikes.

1. Wash any mud off your bike. First, you need to get dirt and mud off the moving parts which includes the derailleur, cassette and chain. There is a large debate on whether to wash a bike with water. I use water but to be on the safe side I follow a few rules. I only wash my mountain bike when it's muddy, I never hose my road bike down, I put a kink in the hose so the pressure is very low and I always make sure my bikes get completely dry.

2. Clean your chain. Use your chain cleaner to degrease and clean the chain. If you're using a cleaner such as simple green, (which foams) you can lightly hose the chain off to get rid of any excess cleaner.

3. Clean the drive train. Use a brush or rag with degreaser to clean the gears. Make sure you clean all the gears including the cassette, the chain rings on the cranks and the small plastic gears on the derailleur. Once again, if you're using a cleaner such as simple green you can lightly hose the excess cleaner off.

4. Wipe the suspension down. If you have suspension clean the top part that moves up and down while you're riding (typically this part is gold colored). To clean this use a dry rag and avoid cleaners in this area.

5. Clean your brakes. You don't have to clean your brakes every time you clean your bike but it can't hurt. Apply rubbing alcohol to a lint free rag and clean the rotor (disc brakes) or rims (rim brakes) depending on the types of brakes you have. This will clean the braking surface, but you still want to clean the brake pads. This is done by gently applying the brakes until they are rubbing on the braking surface but not stopping the wheel. After finding this point spin the wheel a few rotations and be sure the rim is coated with rubbing alcohol. After the braking surface and brake pads are clean, wipe off all the excess rubbing alcohol.

6. Clean additional parts. Remove any grease and dirt from areas containing bearings and moving parts. Clean around the hubs (where the wheels attach to the bike), headset (where the fork goes through the frame) and bottom bracket (what you pedal). This can be done with the same degreaser you have been using if it is approved for use on rubber and paint. If the degreaser you have is not approved for these materials, a bike wash can be used instead.

7. Make it shine. Clean the frame, wheels, tires and other parts to your liking. Cleaning these parts won't affect how your bike runs but it's always nice to have a shiny bike. For cleaning your frame and other non-greasy components, use a bike wash with a soft rag or brush.


How To Prevent Rust >>

All bicycles with metal frames will rust in the future, but there are still things you can do to prevent rust on your brand new bike. Two places we’ll want to protect the most are the inside of the frame and the exterior of it.

For the exterior you’re going to need a silicone based polish. You can get them at bike stores or even boat stores. Simply squirt it on the rag and rub it on to the bike. There’s no need to clean the bike afterwards, in fact that would make it less effective. What this product does besides making your new bike shine is repels water. It will get in the pours of the steel so water and oxygen are kept out. This in turn stops the rust from oxidizing and turning in to what we all hate; iron oxide or as you may know it, rust.

The inside of the frame obviously can’t be whipped down, but is still susceptible to rust. For this we have a spray called Frame Saver. Do apply just spray the can in to any vent holes in the frame, usually they’re found under or near the seat. This spray creates a coating over the inside of the frame to protect it from rust and should be used on all new bikes before they’re ridden. These are very simple and easy methods that will greatly extend your bikes life and stop rust from forming for a long time.


Bike Running Costs >>

There are a few things that are going to cost you more, simply because you are not used to working on a bike and will have to have them done for you.

1. Tuneups - You generally get one free at about 30 days after you buy the bike. Mostly this consists of readjusting the derailleurs (shifting mechanisms) and the brakes as the cables stretch. Tuneups in my area (Phoenix, Az) cost between $50-75 depending on shop and any replacement parts. Avg 2-3x per year.

2. Tires/Tubes - Ongoing. I recommend a tougher tire such as gatorskins ($50 each) for training, and then switching to a performance tire (Conti GP 4000 - $65 per tire) for racing. Tubes range from $7 to $15 each. I would just stick with butyl, even latex for racing is a bit overkill to start. Avg 6-8 tubes per year, 1-2 tires (per wheel).

3. Chain/cassette - $50-100 per cassette, $20-50 per chain depending on quality, plus shop cost to install/change. 1-2x per year depending on maintenance and mileage.
Those are the major ones that I would consider regular expenses.


Riding Can Save You Dollars >>

In many of the cities in Australia it is hard to get by without a car. That said, just because you have a car does not mean you have to use it every day. Whenever possible, ride your bike or share a ride with a colleague or spouse and save both on petrol and reduce the environmental footprint.

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