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Keep your bicycle tires filled to the maximum rated pressure. That will be a number vulcanized into the rubber on the side of your tires. A typical bicycle tire may say "inflate to 40 - 65 PSI" (Pounds per Square Inch). In that case, for normal on-road use, you'd put 65 PSI in your bicycles tires. For some off-road riding, you'd want to use lower pressures. Properly inflated bicycle tires roll more easily. They are also more absorbent of bumps. If you hit a rock or a sharp edge in the road with soft tires, the impact can damage the rim of the bicycles wheel.
Be careful of gas station air sources. Many have a crank on the side of a box. You turn the crank to select the pressure. The problem is that these machines often have a small volume, high-pressure leak. They are fed by an air compressor containing 175 PSI. When your tire is filled to the desired pressure, the machine shuts off most of the air supply. But a little bit may leak through the valve. Since a car tire holds a lot of air, it would take a very long time to over-inflate. But a bicycle tire has very little air, and the over-riding high pressure leak can burst your tire in a matter of seconds.
If your bicycles tires are very low, examine the 'seating' before filling them fully. If the tire is unevenly mounted on the rim, the side of the tire can blow off, killing your inner tube in a very noisy way.
I can't tell you how many hundreds of chains and rear sprockets I've replaced because people didn't keep their bicycles chains properly lubricated. With proper lubrication, the bicycle chain can last many thousands of miles and scores of years. As the chain wears, the sprocket teeth wear rapidly to match, so when you replace the chain, often the sprockets have to be replaced also. So forgetting to oil your chain from time to time is expensive. Use a light oil such as Marvel Mystery Oil or 3-In-1. WD-40 may be too light and so has to be put on inconveniently often. Motor oil is good, but tends to collect more dirt. Some of the specialty bicycle chain oils that your bicycle shop can recommend are very good. There seems to be no consensus on which is the best.
If you're putting too much oil on your chain, it starts to grow a fuzzy, yucky coating of greasy dirt. If you're not putting enough on, it gets rusty, or starts to look shiny and almost white. Try to find the happy middle ground. You'll probably have to oil your chain about every three months if you use your bicycle only on some weekends, or every two weeks if you use it five days a week. You'll also want to oil your chain after you ride in the rain.
You should follow the tune-up procedure in BicycleWebSite in the repair section or take your bicycle to the shop for a tune up perhaps twice a year, depending on how much you ride, and how your bicycle is performing.
Many modern bicycles have sealed bearings and do not need overhaul for a very long time. Some sealed bearing components, and all non-sealed bearing components should be fully disassembled, cleaned, inspected, and reassembled with new lubrication every ten years if infrequently ridden in good weather, or every year or two for hard riding.
Before every ride, squeeze your brake levers hard to be sure the cables and brakes are working properly.
Before every ride, you should lean on the front and rear wheel to be sure they have enough air.
Once a week, or every few hundred miles, you should pedal backward while staring at the chain where it wraps around a rear sprocket. You're looking for any links that are different from the others. If a rivet is sticking out, or a plate is coming off, now is the time to know about it, not when you're riding hard up a hill. A chain failure can be a serious letdown.
Once a month or every few hundred miles, you should check all the nuts and bolts to be sure they are properly tight. The exception is adjustment screws. Adjustment screws are spring-loaded or have a friction system so they won't rattle loose. If you turn an adjustment screw, it will alter the performance of the component to which it is attached. Adjustment screws are found on derailleurs, and sometimes on brake components. You can tell the difference between an adjustment screw and other screws by the fact that adjustment screws don't hold a part together or onto the bicycle.
OK, have fun!- Jeff
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