You’re almost set to hit the pavement, but first, it’s important to learn some quick maintenance points. A well-maintained bicycle is the best defence against breakdowns. However, no matter how much you dote over your bike, it is inevitably going to get a flat. Keep a kit on hand:
- Bike pump
- Puncher repair kit
- Allen keys (varying sizes)
- Tire levers (used to pry off tire from wheel)
- Spare tube
You should also have bike lube on hand to keep your chain well-greased – a dry or dirty chain is more likely to snap. It’s also a good idea to periodically clean off dirt from your hub, cogs, brakes and frame. You should also try to get a tune up from your local bike shop every 4 months or so.
A bike lock is the most important piece of equipment for keeping your bike safe. Firstly, try to lock your bike in an open and well-populated area. Make sure you lock it to something sturdy. Refrain from locking it to trees, because the lock damages the bark. Instead, look for bike racks, sturdy metal fences, and lampposts. When locking your bike, you should ideally use two locks. Always make sure one lock locks your back wheel and frame to a sturdy object. Your second lock should lock your front wheel to the frame.
Unfortunately, no bike lock in the world will keep a determined thief from pinching your bike. As a guide, you should aim to spend 10% of the cost of your bike on a bike lock. So for example, a $500 bike should have a $50 lock. The most recommended method of avoiding bike theft is to make your bike undesirable to steal.
Cycling is really fun, and the more you do it, the better you will get at it. The most important things to keep in mind when deciding to commute by bike are: do I have the right equipment? Do I know where I’m going? Am I being safe on the road? Keep these things in mind and you’ll have a fun and rewarding experience.
See you on the road!