SYD FIXES: Basic Bike Maintenance for Before & After Rides

February 26, 2021

In 2020 I suffered a major injury that kept me off the bike for the entire year. That, plus covid-19, made for some pretty rough times. One of the ways I coped was by learning how to wrench on my own bike. Previously, I could barely fix a flat tire, but I had a good teacher (my husband, Macky) and working on bikes became a way to stay sane while expanding my skillset, even if I wasn’t riding. My bike maintenance lessons were pretty hilarious, and I found myself making a lot of dumb mistakes—errors that you don’t usually see in pro bike maintenance tutorials on YouTube. We decided to publish these lessons online to create a space for pressure-free, beginner-friendly bike maintenance tutorials. Thus, our channel SYD FIXES BIKES was born. I’ll be sharing some of my tutorials here on the PEARL iZUMi blog. So if you’re new to riding or just starting to do your own bike maintenance, you’re in the right place!

In this video, I share what you need to be doing before and after EVERY SINGLE RIDE and demonstrate how to do each task. Don’t worry—the tasks here take very little time, but investing 10 minutes or so can save you a lot of time and hassle later (or on the side of the trail!).

What you’ll need:

  1. Allen keys
  2. Chain lube
  3. Pressure gauge
  4. Floor pump (or air compressor)
  5. Cleaning supplies
  6. Drying towels​

Pre-ride routine:

  1. Check your brakes: Check the pull of your brakes to make sure they feel right. If you have hydraulic brakes and hang your bikes vertically, you may need to pump them for a bit first. Check that neither of your brake rotors are rubbing!
  2. Check your shifting: Shift all the way through your gears and make sure your derailleur is properly adjusting and that your chain doesn’t come off the cassette in either direction. In my next post, I’ll talk about what to do if your derailleur needs adjustment.
  3. Check your bolts: This can be as simple as picking your bike up gently to make sure all your rear suspension bolts are tight and checking your headset bolts. Every so often, you may want to check all your bolts with Allen keys or a torque wrench, but for a daily check, headset and rear suspension are the likeliest places you’ll find something loose.
  4. Pump your suspension: Compress your suspension a few times and make sure everything feels hunky-dory. This will help you find any major suspension problems early and also remind you if you’ve left your lockout on!
  5. Air up your tires: We recommend checking your tire pressure before every ride, even if you did so the day before. Temperature changes can affect tire pressure, and tire pressure can affect the comfort and fun level of your ride (not to mention helping you avoid flats!).

Post-ride routine:

  1. Wash (or wipe down) your bike: If your bike is seriously muddy, you should definitely give it a full bath. BUT we know that that isn’t realistic for every ride, and giving your bike a quick wipe down can be just as good. Just make sure you clean your fork/dropper post seals and drivetrain!
  2. Lube your chain: It’s best to lube your chain after your ride instead of before so that the lube has time to fully soak in.
  3. Fix any issues that came up during your bike: Or, at the very least, WRITE IT DOWN. Set the alarm on your phone. Whatever it takes to prevent you from forgetting until five minutes before your next ride!

Stay tuned for more tips from SYD FIXES!

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