Bicycle Maintenance

Routinely checking your beloved bicycle shouldn’t take long.  Some of the most basic checks can even be done while walking from the garage to the front gate.  Just a couple of minutes is all it takes to check tire pressure, handle bar and stem alignment, brakes and to make sure the wheel skewers are nice and tight.

If you discover one or more of your bicycle parts is damaged or requires repair, ensure the repair has been completed by a qualified bicycle mechanic and is safe to use before you continue riding.

The Daily Checks

  • Tires should feel very firm to the touch.  The correct pressure is written on the sidewall of each tire.
  • Check that the seat is at the correct height and the seat post is tightly inserted into the frame.
  • Brakes should be secure.  Brake levers should engage when gripped.
  • Gears and brakes operate smoothly and directly.
  • Handlebars should be tight.
  • Lift the handlebars, spin the front wheel, apply the brakes and check that the:
    • Wheel is properly secured in the forks.
    • Quick release levers are secure.
    • Wheel rotates freely without rubbing on the brakes.
    • Gears and brakes operate smoothly and directly.

The Weekly Checks

  • Brakes should contact the rim squarely.  Levers should not touch the handlebar when squeezed hard.  Cables should not be frayed or damaged.
  • Check wheel axle nuts are tight.
  • Clean and lubricate the chain.
  • Steering bearings – apply the front brake and rock the bike back and forward.  If loose, there will be a ‘knocking’ sound.
  • Check that fittings such as racks, front and rear lights, wheel reflectors and kick stands are firmly secured.
  • Clean mud from lights and reflectors, including pedal reflectors.  Check that front and rear reflectors are aligned vertically

The Monthly Checks

  • Check the tires for wear or splits in the rubber.
  • Check wheel bearings, chain, gear cluster, chain rings and head stem (handlebars).
  • Check that pedals are intact and spin freely.
  • Check that derailleur gears are not bent and that they do not travel too far and jam the chain.
  • Check wheels for rust, buckles, bulges, rims with dents, and broken spokes. Check for loose hub bearings by wiggling wheel sideways.
  • Make sure your bell is in good working order.
  • Check that front and rear lights are bright when operating.
  • Wipe down your bike with a damp rag.

The Yearly Checks

  • Check the frame and components for hairline cracks and excessive wear.  If you find a crack, contact a professional bike mechanic immediately.
  • Remove handlebar tape to check for rust and weakness.
  • When purchasing new tires, make sure they are the right size.
  • When replacing the chain, also change the freewheel/cassette as both generally wear out evenly.
  • Cables can becomes stretched over time so it might be a good idea to change all gear and brake cables.  For those cyclists running hydraulic brakes, get your brakes bled and replace the fluid.
  • Replace brake pads
  • Check seals on suspension forks – get an expert opinion on whether the seals need replacing.  A tell tale sign is excessive oil leaking out of the seals.

10 Tips For Riding Your Bicycle Safely

  1. Always wear an approved bicycle helmet, properly fitted and fastened to your head.
  2. Increase your visibility with bright, light clothing which also keeps you cool while being comfortable. Use reflective clothing especially at night and in poor conditions.
  3. Be prepared for bad weather and always protect your eyes. Display a white light at the front of your bike and a red light at the back. Your bike must have a red rear reflector.
  4. Always obey the road rules, including traffic lights, Stop signs and Give Way signs. You must use the bike lane where one is available, ride in Transit Lanes and Bus Lanes, but not Bus Only Lanes. Give way to pedestrians and other vehicles when entering a road.
  5. Ride in a predictable manner that does not require other road users to react suddenly to your movements.
  6. Give hand signals when changing lanes or turning right.
  7. Plan your route using quieter streets, bicycle paths or shared paths, wherever possible. When using a shared pedestrian/bicycle path keep to the left and give way to pedestrians.
  8. Maintain control of your bike at all times. It is an offence to ride with both hands off the handlebars, feet off the pedals or to carry anything which prevents you from having control.
  9. Keep your bicycle in good condition by performing regular maintenance checks that will enhance your cycling experience and the longevity of your bike.
  10. Carry out a 2 minute check every time you ride your bike.

Nebraska Bicycle Laws

Bicycle Laws in the State of Nebraska

The following is a summary of bicycle laws in Nebraska. This is not an inclusive listing of laws for bicyclists. For more details, see Nebraska Revised Statutes §60-611, §60-680, §60-6,177, §60-6,142-144, and §60-6,314-319. Local authorities may have additional regulations within their jurisdictions.

In Nebraska, bicyclists are required to follow the same rules of the road as motorists. A bicyclist riding on a highway generally has all of the rights of a vehicle and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle (some exceptions do exist).  Parents or guardians are responsible for the actions of children under the age of 16.

Restricted Highways (Interstate & Freeway)
Bicyclists are not allowed to ride on interstate highways or freeways in Nebraska (a freeway is defined as a fully access controlled highway with “no” at-grade crossings).

Mandatory Side Path Law
Nebraska has a mandatory side path law that states that you should not ride your bicycle on the highway if a usable bikepath is adjacent. This does not apply when riding on surface (paved) shoulders.

Equipment on Bicycles
● Have brakes that can stop your bicycle within 25 feet at 10 mph. (based on ideal conditions)
● Have a red reflector on the rear of your bike when riding at night. (City of Lincoln requires a rear red light)
● Have an attached light on the front of your bike for night riding.
● Have side reflectors on your bicycle wheels when riding at night.
● Have reflectors on your pedals (or shoes) when riding at night.

State Patrol Advice
Although Nebraska has laws that require reflectors and a light on bicycles for riding at night, the Nebraska State Patrol does not recommend riding a bicycle on rural state highways at night due to the higher speeds and reduced visibility.

(nebraskatransportation.org)