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Bike maintenance during lockdown

When Melbourne's latest lockdown was announced, bike riders scrambled to scour the DHHS website to see where and when they could pedal.

We soon figured out that we can keep riding for both exercise and transport, as long as we stick close to home. See the current restrictions

But then we needed to work out what we should do if our bike needs a service. While bike mechanics can remain open, we do need to limit the number of times we leave home and the people we see.

To help with this we've put together a guide for keeping your bike going during lockdown, including how to prevent a breakdown, how to do maintenance at home and how to get your bike serviced if you must.

Preventing problems

Bicycle Network works to make bike riding better so more people can get active and keep healthy. We know that prevention is better than a cure. Not just for you, but your bike as well.

The easiest thing you can do to keep your bike in good nick, especially during winter, is keep it clean. By washing away gunk and grit that can clog up the moving parts and wear down metal you will make everything last longer and be less likely to break down.

Cleaning your bike is quite easy and can be done in the smallest of spaces, including apartment balconies without a hose. We've got a guide for cleaning your bike that includes details on how to get into your chain and other hard-to-reach parts.

After cleaning your bike it's also important to lubricate the moving parts, most importantly, your chain and cassette (cogs). That will help them move together nicely.

You should also keep you tyres pumped up. You want them firm so they can resist punctures.

Bike cleaning

You can also do occasional inspections of your bike to see if any parts are misbehaving. The best way to inspect your bike is by doing an ‘M’ check where you follow the frame (which sort of looks like an M) and have a good look at everything.

Following the M check means you will be able to see the condition of everything from the chain and gears to seat, brakes, handlebars, frame, forks and wheels.

The M Check

Making minor repairs

The great thing about bikes is they're not like cars. You don't need to serve a lengthy apprenticeship to learn how to make repairs.

If you get a flat tyre or notice that your brakes are taking longer to slow you down you can fix this easily yourself.

Check our our maintenance tips page for instructions on how to fix these things. If you need to buy any parts you can do this without leaving home. Online retailers are still operating during the pandemic and many local bikeshops are now doing deliveries. If you give them a call they'll also be able to make sure you get the most suitable parts for your bike.

Maintenance tips

If you'd like to have a crack at more substantial repairs you might want to set up a dedicated space and use some specialty equipment. To setup a home workshop you can invest in a toolkit including the below.

We also recommend finding a good space to set up your workshop. In front of the TV in the lounge room is not the best spot, and besides, you've likely watched all of Netflix in the past months.

Home toolkit
  • Tyre pump (a floor pump is most practical)
  • Toothbrush or chain cleaning gadget
  • Citrus degreaser or other biodegradable degreaser
  • Chain lube
  • Rags
  • Bearing grease for greasing threads
  • A set of allen keys (hex keys) including sizes up to 8mm
  • A pedal spanner (narrower than an ordinary spanner).
Caliper brake adjustment

Getting a repairs made

If you do get into a spot of bother with your bike then you may get it repaired, however it might work differently to how you're used to. 

Many (but not all) bike workshops are open to do repairs on bikes and have COVID-safe plans are in place for on-site work. If you need to get your bike worked on please do the following:

  • Use a workshop that is within five kilometres from home, even if this is different to your usual bike workshop
  • Contact the workshop before bringing your bike in to make sure they are operating and have a COVID-safe plan
  • Make sure your drop-off and pick-up is contactless

For further information about bike during COVID-19 restrictions check out our advice page Can I still ride my bike outdoors?.

riding during COVID-19

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.

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