Sport

Healthy bike, healthy life

BIKE SAFE: Roy Fraser stresses the importance of bike maintenance.
BIKE SAFE: Roy Fraser stresses the importance of bike maintenance. Mike Knott BUNBIKE

"I LOOK at cycling as two components," Roy Fraser says.

"One is the person, the other is the bike."

The secretary of Bundaberg Mad Cycologists knows a thing or two about the importance of keeping your bike in good nick.

"The person must be suited to the bike. Make sure the bike is set up for you. For example, the seat needs to be the right height; otherwise, you risk knee damage.

"The tyres must be in good condition and pumped up to correct pressure

"With the bike itself, gears and chain must be kept nice and clean and well-oiled.

"And last but not least, the brakes must be correctly adjusted and not worn, so you can pull up reasonably safely."

If you're cycling at night, make sure you have a red light at the back and a white light at the front - and point it down to avoid blinding other road users.

The bottom line for all road users, according to Mr Fraser: "Share the road".

"Bikes are vehicles under the Act, so we have as much right to be on the road as others."

These are his three most important words: "Look, look, look".

"Cyclists are very vulnerable - they may be in the right but in accidents, they're increasingly coming off worse."

BIKE MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST

Daily

Tyres - check for air and tread. Replace tyres if tread is worn.

Weekly

Brakes - make sure brake blocks are close to the rim when brakes are off and touch the centre of the rim when brake lever is pulled. Replace worn cables or blocks.

Chain - check it moves freely without squeaking.

Lights and reflectors - clean and check light is bright. Replace batteries if necessary.

Monthly

Pedals - make sure they rotate freely. Oil them. Replace rubber blocks if worn.

Wheels and rims - check they are straight; if not, take to a bike mechanic for truing.

Chain - check tension. On a bike without gears, increase tension by loosening nuts and pulling the hub and wheel back slightly. On a bike with derailleurs ensure the tensioning spring is working.

Clean the chain with an old toothbrush dipped in solvent, relubricate the chain with lubricant recommended by your bike shop.

Brake levers - check they're tight and lubricate the cable with a tiny amount of oil.

Front gears - wipe clean and oil the pivot joints

Back gears - oil all moving parts and check their alignment

Wheel cones - check adjustment is correct. Wheels shouldn't shake sideways but should rotate for at least 30 seconds if you spin them.

Frame - check for damage, clean paint gently with soap and water.

Fork tips - check front and back for cracks

Find more information about bicycle maintenance, including the checklist to print out and place in your garage or bike storage area here: http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Travel-and-transport/Cycling/Bike-user-guide/Maintenance.aspx

Topics:  bike health maintenance