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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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