As with nearly everything mechanical, maintenance is required. The more frequent maintenance tasks that are easy to do yourself include: cleaning and lubing chains and gears, washing the bike once in a while, and truing the wheels as they will get a little bent out of shape.
Uh…. Yeah… it was dirty. When it gets this dirty, it can jack up your shifting.
Truing a wheel is pretty easy on a road bike with old school brakes. All I do it put the bike upside down on the ground and tighten down the barrel adjuster of the brakes to close down the pads to the rim. I spin the wheel and where it hits the pads I adjust. FYI, the nipples of the spokes are left-handed threaded and I usually adjust them 1/8th
of a turn at a time. If you have a mountain bike with disk brakes, well, I have no cheater tips for truing your wheels. Maybe one of our readers can suggest something!
So this one time, I ran over something and my tire went flat instantly. Well, that sucked. So I replace the tube, put the tire back on the rim and start pumping. Then I notice the tube expanding out of a slit in the side of the tire. I noticed it too late and popped my spare tube. Sigh. Well, the trick is you can use a dollar bill to act as a boot to prevent your tube for going through the slit and exploding. I wish my friends would have taught me this before this happened to me. So now you readers know and have no excuse; carry around a one dollar bill on the bike just in case.
So assuming you've gotten yourself a nice new bike maybe you'd like a way to store it. While searching online for an indoor bike stand, I didn't really like anything I saw as I felt none of them secured the bike well enough. So, I designed my own assembled using parts from 8020.net
. It's fully adjustable to tweak for different tire widths and grabs the tire in four locations to hold the bike vertical. Two horizontal pieces keep the bike from rolling forwards or backwards. I had a Continental tire on the rear previously and just put on a new wheel set with Michelin tires that are JUST a smidgen wider. It was a simple matter of making a slight width adjustment to my stand and voila! Perfect fit. As for the wheels, I got them through my buddy Patrick who just opened up his own little bike component store. He's not up to speed yet, but check out his site www.wheelmanbikes.com
for when you need to order up parts. If you're in the South Bay of Los Angeles, you can swing by his store.”
My last random tidbit of knowledge is that running too high of a tire pressure (130+ psi) seems to make it easier to get flats. When I adjusted my pressures down to 100-110psi range, the frequency of getting flats went down dramatically. So, be safe out there, be visible, be defensive, track your progress, get a Road ID in case of an accident, get a Replay video camera in case a car does something stupid in front of you so that you have evidence, and get stronger!