You don't need much to maintain the basics on your bike; a few tools, some time, good light and patience to carry through your maintenance methodically.
You should start by getting the following tools and equipment:
- Bicycle pump. A track pump with a gauge (see photo) is most useful for the home so you can pump your tyres to a known pressure. Track pumps also provide high pressures much more easily than hand pumps.
- Spare inner tube of the correct size for your tyres (check your tyre wall to find out what size you need).
- Puncture repair kit
- A set of tyre levers (plastic are less likely to damage your rims)
- Light oil and grease, lube
- Disposable rags for cleaning
- Allen keys
- A flat head and a Philips screwdriver
- An adjustable spanner, or a 5-20mm spanner set
- Plastic gloves to keep your hands clean (free from many garages) or a good hand cleaner (slightly abrasive or add some salt or sugar to washing up liquid).
Better-quality multi-tools often include allen keys, screwdrivers and a chain tool.
More advanced servicing will require specialist tools.
Whenever you come to put a bolt or a cable back on your bike, you should lubricate it with a touch of grease. Specialist bike grease is best: ideally in a tube as pots of grease can collect dirt.
Wherever possible, use the correct tool for the job. Make sure that you are in a comfortable position and that the tool is fully engaged before you apply force to it.
Keep appropriately sized containers to hand when removing bolts or components. Much time can be saved by not losing small items.