Here are some great tips to make sure your bike is in perfect working order. These excellent videos come from MadeGood, which has some of the best cycle repair information there is, and it's free to watch.
1. Pump up your tyres
If your bike hasn't been used for a while, it's likely the tyres will be soft or even flat. Riding with soft tyres takes extra effort and makes you more likely to get a puncture, so we recommend pumping them up.
Don't immediately assume you have a puncture if your tyres are flat, though because air can leak out very slowly over time.
Check the maximum inflation pressure printed on the side of the tyre, and try inflating them. When inflated correctly, they should feel very firm, so you can hardly compress them at all with your fingers.
If they go flat soon after inflating, you do have a puncture and you'll need to repair or replace the inner tube. This short video tells you exactly how...
VIDEO: How to fix a puncture
2. Check your brakes
Your brakes must be able to stop your bike effectively, without your having to squeeze the lever right against the handlebar.
Most brakes (cantilever, V-brakes and side-pull) involve your squeezing a lever on the handlebar so a pair of cable-operated pads touches your wheel's rim. Some brakes are hydraulically operated, and the pressure can be applied to a hub-mounted disc or the hub itself.
VIDEO: How to check your brakes
3. Is your chain running noisily?
Your chain should be cleaned and lubricated regularly to keep the bike running smoothly and quietly.
You should clean your chain before you lubricate it; you can use a detergent, degreaser or special cleaning product from your bike shop.
To get your chain really clean you should clean every link individually.
You should then clean the chain rings at the front, the sprockets at the back, jockey wheels and all other related parts.
Once these are all clean you will need to oil the chain and exposed metal parts. Oil the inside of the chain, running it around the chain wheel and sprockets a couple of times as you go, then wipe off the excess.
VIDEO: How to look after your chain
This tutorial will show you how to lubricate your chain.
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