At Love to Ride we believe that you should support your local bike shop and get your bike serviced once a year by a qualified mechanic, possibly twice if you commute in all weather. But it's great to be able to do some basic bike maintenance yourself, so we've spoked around the internet and brought together the best short and sweet guidance we could find to help you keep your bike in A1 condition.
This skill is as simple as it is important. Here's a great 90-second video from Specialized that shows you how to lube your chain.
If you ride regularly in bad weather, you are awesome. You may also appreciate a guide to more thorough chain maintenance to help you keep yours in perfect working order.
The best way to avoid punctures is to buy decent tyres and inflate them to the correct pressure (this is printed on the tyre wall). A cheap pair of puncture retardant tyres can keep you riding for 1-3,000 miles or 1,600-5,000 kms.
If you are unfortunate enough to get a puncture, inner tubes are often easy to repair. You'll need some tyre levers, a pump and a repair kit or self-adhesive patch. First of all you will need to remove the tyre, as clearly demonstrated in this video. Once you have removed your inner tube, you can repair the puncture. This great video from the Global Cycling Network shows you how to repair an inner tube with a conventional repair kit; the procedure is much the same with self-adhesive patches.
It's obviously not safe to ride without fully-functioning brakes. It's also very naughty. Often, though, brakes that don't halt your bike effectively just need a minor adjustment to get them back to full working order. This short and sweet two-minute video shows you how to adjust your brakes to make sure they are safe.
More Advanced Bike Maintenance
Replacing Brake Cables
I you really want brilliant brake brains, here's how to replace the brake cables on a road bike and on flat handlebars. If you have disc brakes or other brakes not covered by these videos, a quick search will take you to a useful guide.
IMPORTANT: Whilst mastering your brakes is a great idea, it's not as clever as being 100% certain that your bike is safe to ride. So if you do repair your own brakes, test them thoroughly before riding on the road and take your precious steed to an expert if you are at all unsure.
Earn the Cap of Cleverness and become a Bike Maintenance Smarty Pants by tuning your own gears. If your chain skips or rubs when you change gears or if you are unable to shift onto your inner or outer rings, you will need to give your gears some TLC to get them running smoothly again. This great video from BikeFixIT gives a thorough guide to indexing your gears.
Now get geared up and go!