Beginners guide to bike maintenance

It’s a great skill for children to be able to cycle, it’s great for their exercise, socialisation and for getting out in the fresh air. As they get older, it’s a good idea to start teaching them how to maintain their bike, this means they will start to take more responsibility for their bike and hopefully more interested in keeping it in good shape! Here are a few easy maintenance tips children can do to start taking care of their bike.

Pumping tyres

Pumping bike tyres is a very important part of maintaining a bike and it’s one of the easiest. It’s important to know which type of valve is on your tyres; Schrader or Presta. Many pumps are able to change between both but it’s best to check before you buy a pump. A great starter pump is the Raleigh Exhale MTB 4.0 hand pump – it can be used on both types of valves.

To begin, remove the dust cap on your tyre – be sure to keep it nearby as you’ll need to pop it back on when you’re done. The dust cap is there to protect the valve and keep it clean, ensuring it doesn’t get filled with dirt and grime.

Next, attach your pump to the valve and slowly pump up the tyre. Whilst you’re pumping, frequently check the tyre to see if it’s nearly filled. Once your tyre is firm enough, remove the pump and replace the cap on top of the valve.

Easy!

Whenever you take a ride it’s important to check your tyres before you go. That way if it needs a quick pump, you can sort it before you cycle away.

Keep it clean

Keeping a clean bike is great because it means you are more proud of it! You should enjoy riding your Raleigh. It’s a good idea to wear old clothes when you clean your bike – it can get quite messy!!

Stand you bike up in a stable position so that it doesn’t fall over. Pour degreaser into a pot and use a toothbrush to gently scrub the chain and cogs with degreaser – hopefully you’ll see a difference quite quickly. If you gently turn the pedal whilst you’re degreasing, you’ll be able to clean more cogs and teeth as they pass through.

Onto the frame! Get a bucket of warm, soapy water and wash all the mud and grime off your bike frame with a sponge or old cloth. Once you’ve covered the whole bike, use a bucket of clean water to rinse the soap suds off.

You can use a soft brush is scrub the rim of your wheels and your brake pads – at the same time, check there is nothing stuck in the inside of the brake pads.

Oiling the chain

Once you’ve cleaned your bike, it’s actually the perfect time to oil up. Try your best not to get any oil in places it shouldn’t be – brake pads and wheels rims. Drop a sparing amount of bike lubricant onto the chain links as you slowly turn the pedals, once you’ve been all the way around the chain you can stop. Then lubricate the rear cassette.

Leave the oil to soak for five minutes and then wipe off the excess. You can also oil the bikes other moving parts like brake levers and gear shift levers – use the oil sparingly and remember to wipe up any excess with an old cloth.