How to Perform Routine Maintenance on a Bicycle

Any avid bicyclist knows that bicycles are perhaps the most reliable, efficient mode of transportation available. Still, bikes, like any machines, require maintenance to keep them running safely and dependably. If you have to take your bike to the shop frequently, or spend a lot of time fixing your bike, you're wasting time and money. Most minor mechanical problems are preventable if you care for your bike properly.


  1. Image titled Perform Routine Maintenance on a Bicycle Step 1
    Keep the bicycle dry. Moisture promotes rust, corrosion, and rot—so store your bike inside or under a cover. If you get the bike wet on a ride, dry it thoroughly before putting it away.
  2. Image titled Perform Routine Maintenance on a Bicycle Step 2
    Keep the bike clean. Use a damp cloth to wash your bike down after riding it, especially if you've gone on a dusty or muddy road. Deposits from the road speed up deterioration of moving parts, so make sure to clean these well. Don't use soap, as it may leave behind a corrosive residue. If your bike needs extra cleaning, use a specialty bike cleaning fluid. Avoid using pressurized washers such as a car wash and use a garden hose carefully to avoid forcing water into the bearings and gears where it will speed corrosion.
  3. Image titled Perform Routine Maintenance on a Bicycle Step 3
    Lubricate the pedals and chain weekly. Moving parts tend to grind on each other if not well oiled, so oil the bike's pedals and chain with a specialty bike lubricant. Avoid getting lubricant on the brake pads or on any part of the pedals where you put your feet.
  4. Image titled Perform Routine Maintenance on a Bicycle Step 4
    Make sure tires are properly inflated before riding. Inadequate inflation causes tires to grow old before their time, and it may cause sudden tire damage. Inflate the tires to the recommended tire pressure printed on the side of the tires. This number will typically be given in PSI, or pounds per square inch. Use a pressure gauge to ensure the tire is properly inflated. If you don't have a pressure gauge, add air until the tire feels hard when you press on it.


  • These steps cover only the most basic maintenance. Additional care may be required from time to time, and parts may need to be replaced periodically.
  • Consult your bike's owners manual for further instruction on caring for your bike.


  • Failure to properly maintain a bike can result in dangerous accidents.
  • Also ensure that you don't get oil on the brakes, as this can cause them to fail.
  • Be careful not to oil parts of the pedals where your feet touch, as this will cause them to be slippery, possibly causing your foot to slip.

Things You'll Need

    • 1 cloth
    • 1 bucket of water
    • 1 specialist bike cleaning liquid
    • 1 specialist chain & pedal lubricant
    • 1 pump
    • You might also need a bike cover.

Sources and Citations

  • A video on basic bike maintenance. The original source of this article. Shared with permission.

Article Info

Categories: Bicycles