You should be comfortable with the ABC Quick Check, a quick inspection to determine if your bike is safe to ride. The ABC Quick Check should be done before every ride.
Anyone can do basic maintenance on their bike. At a minimum, you should be comfortable with the ABC Quick Check, a quick inspection to determine if your bike is safe to ride. The ABC Quick Check should be done before every ride (check out the League of American Bicyclists’ ABC Quick Check video):
A is for air: Make sure your tires are properly inflated. You can find the proper inflation level written on the tire. Also check your tires for any damage.
B is for brakes: Make sure your brakes are working. While standing on the ground, pull your brake levers. You should not be able to roll the bike with the brakes applied. There should be at least one inch of space between your brake lever and the handlebar when applied. Also inspect your brakes for wear and damage and make sure they do not rub on your wheel when not applied.
C is for chain: Your chain should be oiled and not rusty or dirty. Pull on your cranks to ensure they are secure to the frame. Take your bike for a brief test ride to ensure the chain shifts properly.
Quick is for quick releases: Some bikes use a quick release to secure the wheel to the frame. Make sure your quick releases are tight and installed properly. Check out this video by Park Tool on wheel installation to learn about how to properly secure quick releases.
Check is for checking everything is in working order: Take your bike for a brief test ride to ensure everything is in working order. Visually inspect the bike the entire bike for damage.
Online maintenance guide
There are lots of resources available online. One great resource is Park Tool’s repair help articles. Their posts feature detailed descriptions, photos and videos for most maintenance topics.
Open shops and classes
Open shops and classes are a great way to get help working on your bike. Below is a partial list of the many bike shops and organizations in the Twin Cities that offer open shop and classes. Costs will vary. Click on each organization for details.