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10 Essential Bike Maintenance Hacks

10 Essential Bike Maintenance Hacks

It’s a beautiful day. You’re enjoying a lovely bicycle ride with your friends and family, or maybe simply enjoying a pleasant ride by yourself. You wouldn’t want your beautiful ride to be hindered by some worrying squeaks or squeals, or shakes and rattles.

You might be unlucky and crash owing to some harsh or unforeseeable topography. If you find yourself unprepared, this might prevent you from moving forward. Here we have some bike maintenance hacks to get you back on track if you ever find yourself with bicycle troubles on the side of the road.

1. Bent Derailleur

When you crash your bicycle, you can get a bent derailleur.  You will have to straighten the derailleur because it won’t work unless you straighten it first. If the bulk of the bend is in the frame, then it’s relatively easy to straighten it.

You should try removing the rear wheel and then extract its quick release skewer. Unscrew the derailleur to take it off the frame. Now thread the end of the axle into the frame.

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You will have to thread it in fully and then use wheel to coax the bent piece of metal straight and then repair it. Finally reinstall the derailleur and wheel, and that should do the job.

2. Broken shift cable

If you break your shift cable in your ride, do not panic. There are different remedies, depending upon where the cable has broken. If the cable has broken at the top or in the middle, pull the cable while you pedal, using your hand to get the chain into the appropriate gear.

Now, unscrew the water bottle screw and place the cable underneath it and tighten the screw underneath to hold the cable. If there is not enough cable, then tighten the limit screw on the derailleur to make it stay in easy gear anyway. You can also use a stone or stick inside the derailleur to hold it in the required gear.

3. Flat repair

What if all of a sudden, you get a flat tire on the road? If there is grass nearby, stuff the tire with grass and then reattach it to the bike. You can also try removing the tire, locating the hole in the tube and then trapping the part that has a hole under the edge of the tire.

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4. Wheel fix

If you ever have a crash, your wheel might take on a bizarre indicating that the rim has been damaged beyond repair. Remove the wheel, hold and roll it to find the biggest bend in it.

Now after locating the damaged area, place it so that it’s at 12 o’clock position such that your right hand is at 9 o’clock and your left is at 3 o’clock. Now raise the wheel and smack it down on the ground. It should get the wheel straight; otherwise repeat the step and then find another bend and do the same. This can get the wheel straight enough to get you to your destination.

5. Chain maintenance

The bicycle chain is one of the most efficient energy transfer mechanisms. The parts of the chain are constantly moving against each other, which causes the chain to wear down, making it look elongated.

Once the wear progresses beyond a certain point, it makes moving to different gears less smooth, and also causes changes to the gear’s teeth, making it impossible to replace the chain without also replacing the gears. So, it’s advised to lubricate and clean the chain regularly.

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Spray-on lubricants should be used before every ride and after every wet ride. Apply lube at one point and then rotate the crank so that coat of lube gets spread in the entire chain. Then, stop applying the lube, but continue to rotate the crank to allow the lube to reach every portion of the chain.

6. Inner tube replacement in case of puncture

First, remove the valve of the inner tube and then pull inner tube completely out of the tire. Look on the outside and use your fingers to find the point of the puncture.  To install new inner tube, remove the dust cap, lock the ring on new inner tube and then use pump to inflate the inner tube so that it holds its shape.

Then, insert the inner tube valve into the valve hole and screw on the lock ring. Finally, place the rest of the inner tube inside the tire.

7. Brakes

Though it is true that brake pads often last for miles, it is also possible to wear through a new set in a single ride if conditions are not good. If you hear very loud scraping when you apply the brakes there is a fair chance that something has lodged into your brake pad.

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Flip open the brakes or remove the wheel and pick out the source of the issue. It’s advised to not touch disc-brake pads with your fingers.

8. Squeaks and squeals

If your bike starts to make creaking noises, it’s time to look it over. A creaky noise can be attributed to a loose spindle. To undo it, remove the crank bolts, lubricate threads, and reinstall and then tighten everything using a torque wrench.

For the saddle, a few drops of oil on the rail where it connects to the saddle will do. To silence the squealing rear-derailleur pulley wheels, light lubricant should be used.

9. Shakes, rattles and rolls

The headset, hubs and cranks should be checked periodically. Squeeze the front brake and rock the bike back and forth to check the headset. Pull the wheel and crank it side to side to check the wheel and crank bearings. Check the tightness of the crank bolt using a torque wrench.

10. Gear tuning

To tune your gears, start by putting your bike into its top gear, and then turn the pedals till the chain goes into the smallest cog. Unscrew the bolt by securing the cables to derailleur and move cable onto the appropriate cogs. Ensure that the chain sits comfortably on both lowest and highest cogs and refit the gear cable.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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