20. Know how to fix your Bike! Beginners Guide to Bicycle Touring by Pedaling for Peace

flat_bicycle_tire pedaling for peaceEspecially flat tires, You are now literally riding on the road of life.  It is a guarantee that you will get flat tires.  Fix them and move on.  It is easier to learn from the comfort of your own home than the side of the road, a lot safer too!

Do a basic cleansing of your chain [dry rag] and then lube it daily while on the road, check air pressure in your tires [this is easily done with the hand squeeze test once you get the hang of it], visually inspect spokes and pluck them to make sure there are no loosey gooseys that could cause a more major problem later.  Tighten bolts, nuts, especially the ones holding your rack to the bike, would be a bummer for those to come off mid ride!  Check for cracks in carbon/aluminum if applicable, make sure your tires are clean of pokey things and there are no cracks in them.  Ensure your seat clamp is tight, handlebars and stem are good to go, aero bars are solid, brakes are good and you have enough padding.  No major chips or chinks in rim and when you spin the wheel, it spins freely.  Look for any thing sticking into your tire, may as well remove it before you hammer it in with a million rotations.

Once a week or every other week, measure your chain with a simple ruler in order to stay ahead of chain wear.  Better to replace a chain only than wait and have to replace the gears as well!  You do this very easily by – 24 links should be equal to 12 inches, if you are over, your chain is stretching, by over you are counting 1/8 inch increments.  If it is under, you are either doing it wrong, or, well, I really cant say, perhaps you have crossed the bridge to Tarabithia, say hi to the talking Lion for me and let the Ewoks know I think they are cute.