Written by Emily Zabanah, Volunteer Writer
As a cyclist, your bicycle is more than just a means of transportation, it’s a partner that takes you on adventures across Toronto’s vibrant streets. To ensure a smooth and safe ride, regular bike maintenance is essential. In this guide, we’ll share some valuable tips and tricks to keep your bike in optimal condition.
1. Keep those tires rolling
Keeping your bike’s tires properly inflated is the single most important thing that you can do to avoid getting a flat tire. You should pump your tires at least every two weeks to the recommended pressure (this pressure can be found on the side of your tire as a number with the letters ‘PSI’ after it). If you plan to go on longer rides, invest in a reliable pump and flat repair kit to handle unexpected punctures.
2. Keep it clean
Regular cleaning is vital to protect your bicycle’s components and prolong its lifespan. Use a specialized brush to remove stubborn debris from hard-to-reach areas. Additionally, consider applying a protective coating to shield your bike from rust and wear.
3. Provide brake TLC
Regularly inspect your brake pads for signs of wear and tear. Replace them if they have worn down beyond the recommended thickness. Remember to keep an eye on your brake cables, as they can deteriorate over time due to weather conditions. Promptly replace any frayed or damaged cables to maintain optimal braking performance.
4. Take care of your chain
Clean and lubricate your chain to prevent premature wear and tear. Use a degreaser and a chain cleaning tool (or even an old toothbrush and rag) to remove accumulated dirt and grime. After cleaning, apply a quality bicycle-specific lubricant to ensure smooth and efficient shifting, turn your pedals for a while to work in the lubricant, and then wipe off the excess with a clean rag. In Toronto’s wet weather, consider using a wet lubricant to provide better protection against moisture.
5. Prepare for weather changes
Toronto experiences diverse weather conditions throughout the year, so your bike needs to be prepared. Fenders keep you and your bike dry, making riding more comfortable and extending the life of your bike. Invest in quality lights and reflective gear for increased visibility during the shorter daylight hours. Use the weather forecasts to plan your rides and wear layers so that you can adjust to changing temperatures throughout the day.
6. Get a tune up…
Your bike needs regular maintenance beyond the basics listed above. Getting a full tune up once per year will ensure that your bike runs smoothly and will greatly extend the life of your bike parts and the bike itself… or Learn to do it Yourself!
While seeking professional help for complex repairs is essential, Toronto also offers a vibrant community of DIY repair shops where you can learn, experiment, and fix your bike with the guidance of experienced mechanics. These DIY spaces not only provide access to tools and resources but also offer a community space to meet other cyclists.
Here are a few notable DIY repair shops across Toronto:
Spadina Ave and College Street, Toronto
Bloor Street W and Dundas Street W, Toronto
Gerrard Street E and Broadview Ave, Toronto
- Charlies FreeWheels *For Youth Cyclists*
Queen Street E and Sherbourne Street, Toronto
Victoria Park Ave and Danforth Ave, Scarborough
Lawrence Ave E and Markham Rd, Scarborough
Overlea Blvd and Don Mills Rd, North York
Pop Ups Across Toronto
Jane St and Finch Ave, North York
Taking care of your bicycle is an investment in your safety, comfort, and riding experience. By following these maintenance tips, you can keep your bike in excellent condition as you navigate the city’s streets. So, gear up, pedal on, and embrace the joy of cycling!
Note: pointA does not derive any financial benefits from the listing of the DIY repair shops above.