Biking Essentials: Tools And Skills

Biking has become more popular as the cost of driving a car skyrockets. If you intend to use a bicycle for a major part of your transportation needs, there are basic tools and skills you need to have to save yourself costly repairs. Your local bicycle shop is your best source for your cycling needs.

Essential Tools

You can't do repairs without tools, so every serious cyclist needs a tool kit which should include

  • Floor pump with gauge - More accurate than a mini-pump, a floor pump is not for inflating on the go.
  • Minipump - It does no good to know how to repair a flat on the road if you can't pump it back up.
  • Chain tool - Slipping and broken chains are one of the most common bicycle problems. Buy a quality chain tool with an easy-to-use pin extractor.
  • Torx keys - Most newer bikes use Torx bolts, especially on disc brakes. Key sizes T-10, T-25 and T-30 will cover most of your needs, but you can buy a complete set for around $20.
  • Spoke wrench - There is no replacement for this tool. It's an essential for fixing broken spokes and truing wobbly wheels.
  • Tire levers - Removing your tire with a screwdriver can cause irreparable damage. For less than $5, having a tire-lever is a no-brainer.
  • Grease and lube - To keep your moving parts and bolt threads protected and working smoothly, always carry a quality lubricant.

Essential Skills

Some repair and maintenance skills are so simple and easy to learn, it's foolish to pay someone to do them. Every cyclist should know how to

  • Fix a flat - including knowing how to remove and replace the wheel, check for leaks and replace the tube.
  • Repair a slipped or broken chain - this is where that essential chain tool in your kit comes in handy. Learn how to remove and replace links and remount the chain properly onto the cogs.
  • Tighten loose bolts - your bicycle is held together with bolts, and loose bolts can cause damage that is costly to repair. It's important to learn to tighten and torque bolts properly.
  • Loosen and adjust the seat - Seats can easily become stuck in one position if the post and bolts are not kept properly greased.
  • Wrap drop handlebars - This is an easy and inexpensive maintenance job that should be done at least once a year.

If you rely on your bike for transportation, learning how to care for it properly is essential. A bicycle shop, such as the Sarasota Cyclery Inc, may have maintenance and repair courses you can take for a reasonable price, or know where you can find one. They are also the best source for quality tools and parts. If you can't find a local course, check for videos online that show step-by-step how to do simple maintenance and repairs to keep your bicycle in great running order.