Taking care of your bike is simple and easy. A clean bike is a happy bike, and keeping it wiped down and lubricated goes along way to maintaining a great, consistent experience while decreasing wear and tear on components.
Two main things to be religous about: Clean and Lube your Chain and AIR UP YOUR TIRES - EVERY RIDE!
Lubricating the chain:
On average we see chains last about 1500 miles. When a chain starts to wear or "stretch" the spacing between the rollers has increased and can start to damage the gears on the drivetrain. A clean, lubricated chain will help longevity, while a "dry," dirty chain will wear quickly and make horrible grinding and squeaking noises. If your bike sounds like it has a mouse in it when you pedal, or your riding buddies cringe and look at your rear wheel like your hubs going to explode every time you shift, you probably need to lube things up a bit.
Using a quality lube like Tri-Flow or Bearded Monkey's favorite Rock 'N Roll Gold, run lubricant on to the chain while pedaling the bike in a repair stand. Remember, only the chain needs to be lubricated, no lube needs to be applied to the gears - doing so will only attract dirt and grime and make your mechanic shake their fist at you while cursing under their breath.
Ideally one should allow the lubricant to soak into the chains plates and rollers. This will push dirt out of all the nooks and crannies, Wipe the chain with a clean shop rag. Repeat this process until all grime is removed. Feel the chain, you should barely be able to feel lubricant transfer to your fingers. Bonus points if you let Rock N' Roll soak into your chain overnight and wipe it off the next morning.
Air up your damn tires!
"You mean I have to do that? I thought you aired them up when I bought this bike last year." Yes, we did, and yes you still need to do it regularly.
Proper air pressure will help provide the best experience while riding. It allow a tire to roll easier on hard surfaces and have traction on loose surfaces. Under inflated tire can not only damage and prematurely wear out a tire but also cause pinch flats and torn valve stems. Pinch flat or "snake bites" occur when a tire is impacted at low pressure. Insufficient pressure allows the tube to become pinched between the tire and rim causing a double puncture. Torn valve stem usually occurs when riding with heavy duty, thorn resistant tubes. Because of the thick heavy rubber tube the tire might "feel" full when pressed on when in fact it could be significantly under inflated. As the bike starts and stops the heavy tube can slide and shift inside the tire tearing the valve stem and causing you to walk your bike back down the Greenway to your car.
Your tire manufacturer was kind enough to include a recommended tire pressure on the side of your tire. For mountain and cruiser bikes this is usually 50-60 psi. For road bikes this could be as high as 120 psi. Get a tire gauge and a good pump as we have yet to find anyone with a properly calibrated thumb. If all else fails come in and we can do it for you.