- Wash off winter salt, sand, and grime with low-pressure water from a hose. (High-pressure sprayers can force water where it shouldn’t go.)
- Check your chain for wear with a chain-elongation gauge and replace it if indicated.
- Check your brake and shift cables for nicks and proper tension. If you find nicks or fraying, replace the cable. If they’re stretched out, tighten ‘em up or replace them. If all is well, consider lubing your shift cables with a few drops of chain lube to keep them sliding smoothly through autumn.
- Overhaul your jockey wheels for improved shifting. This should take about 10 minutes.
- Check your wheels for true and tighten any loose spokes.
- Check brake pads for wear and replace them if they’re getting thin.
- Replace that nasty handlebar tape!
- Lubricate your bottom bracket bearings.
And don’t forget your higher-mileage maintenance! If you neglected these tasks during the fall, make them a priority now.
Every 1,000 miles:
- Check that frame pump or CO2 inflator/cartridges are in working order.
- Check saddle bag for tools. Check the condition of spare tube.
- Drip chain lube on front and rear derailleur pivots.
- Overhaul derailleur jockey wheel bushings and seals. If using cartridge-bearing jockey wheels, check for smooth action and regrease after removing the bearing covers.
- Check wheels for true and spokes for correct tension.
- Check rim brake-track wear; replace rim if wear indicator dictates it.
- Check rim for cracks, particularly at the spoke holes, and replace rim if cracks are present.
- Check shoe cleats for wear and replace if needed.
- Lubricate shift and brake cables.
Find easy, step-by-step instructions on hundreds of bike maintenance tasks (including all those above) in Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance. Just a few minutes of bike maintenance goes a long way toward keeping your bike running smoothly on every ride.