I spent a very satisfying hour this afternoon putting a new piece of equipment on my bike. It’s a new cyclocomputer, wireless, with cadence and lots of other data that I didn’t have on the last computer. I’ll post on it after I’ve ridden with it a few times. (I installed it after today’s ride. Yes, after yesterday’s colonic calamity, everything calmed down, and I was able to get in a nice 30-miler.)
After removing the old unit, I could see just how much grit and grime had gotten on my bike under the thing, with all its zip ties. I did the first really thorough hand cleaning of the bike that I’ve done in a long time, making sure to get into all the little nooks and crannies that are easily missed in a casual wipe down.
I’ve gotta confess, I’m not the most diligent guy in the world when it comes to maintaining my bike. I’m better than I used to be, when I’d leave it go for weeks on end without even the most routine attention, but I think I could be a lot more conscientious about it than I am. It gets a quick wipe down once a week, when I also do a cursory check of the tires for cuts or debris. I clean the chain about every two weeks. I do the ABC Quick Check before every ride, so at least I’m certain that the bike will roll for me. But I think I need a more regular maintenance system.
A friend of mine goes over his bike carefully every week, checking for seat height and level, bolts, cables, spokes, handlebars, lights. Except for the seat, which I do monthly, I don’t do any of the other stuff.
So, what do you recommend? Should I be doing a lot more than I’m doing? and what about more involved maintenance chores?
For example, last week, I took my bike in to the LBS, to have them install a new cassette. The young woman behind the service counter was surprised when I said I was leaving the bike overnight — that I had an appointment to get the work done the next day.
“It only takes five minutes to replace a cassette,” she said. “If you can stick around that long, I’ll do it now.”
I watched as she took off the rear wheel, laid it on a workbench, and deftly removed the cassette. The new one dropped easily into place. Her labor added only five dollars to the total cost, but I thought that was something I could learn to do. Heck, there are online tutorials about that kind of thing, and more.
I’d really be interested in hearing your thoughts about bike maintenance. What do you think should be done regularly? What kind of a routine do you follow? And what should we rely on the LBS to do?