Riding your bike is great fun as long as it is running smoothly, all the components are working as intended and you haven't got any strange, unidentifiable creaks or clicks. There are several things you can do to make sure you ride safely and your bike stays in good health.
Knowing your bike
One of the first things you can do is to get a general understanding of how your bicycle works and what bicycle type you have. As a good starting point see our introduction to what's on your bike for a quick guide to bike bits and terminology along with a quick check list to make sure your bike is roadworthy.
The following link is a really useful guide to looking after your bike, including essential kit every cyclist should have, how to repair a puncture and a troubleshooting guide to some common clunking noises you may experience.
If you take a little bit of time to regularly look after your bike you will keep it in good condition and extend its lifespan.
Some of the most common queries about basic bike maintenance are answered in this handy FAQ's document.
Cytech's training partner ATG also recommend a simple checklist is carried out on your bike to check before you set out on a journey. They refer to it as the 'M check' and it helps you to make sure your machine is safe to ride.
Cleaning your bike
The part of the ride that most cyclists don't look forward to! To keep components running smoothly and free from rust it is essential to clean off all the muck and grime as soon as you can - unfortunately shortcuts like jet washing usually cause more harm than good.
To keep your two wheels clean and roadworthy click here for an invaluable guide on how to wash your bike properly.
It is always worth taking your bike in for a regular check-up at your local specialist cycle retailer and they will be able to help you with more technical problems and have all the equipment and knowledge you may not possess. They will also be able to check the wear levels on consumable components like chains, tyres and brake pads. Make sure you look at for shops with Cytech Accreditation to make sure you are getting your bike serviced by qualified mechanics.
If you are going to take on the task of repairing your own bike beyond basic maintenance it is worth looking at one part of your bike at a time. The last thing you want to do is end up with missing parts, or worse extra parts when you think your bike is roadworthy again.
It is also a good idea to make sketches or take photos as you strip the bike down, then at least you will have an idea of how it all goes back together.
If you are interested in learning how to do things yourself, you can attend a Cytech course and get an industry recognised qualification at the same time.