One of the lesser appreciated but more important aspects of your training is caring for your bike and making sure it is well maintained. Equipment poorly cared for can be costly in many ways – parts will break down and stop working, running gear will wear out quicker, and there’s a higher chance something could go wrong on your event day.
I recommend giving your bike a quick wash every 1-2 weeks (every 10 rides or so). Degrease the chain and cassette and give the whole bike a quick, soapy bath. Rinse the water off, wipe everything down, and once the chain is dry, apply some chain lube to the chain, jockey wheel bearings, and the hinges on your derailleurs. You can leave your wheels in the bike, and if you’re frequently cleaning your bike, the wash will only take 5 minutes. If you do a lot of indoor riding, it is equally important to wash your bike regularly, as sweat can do a lot of damage to your bike and components.
FormFinder tip: Give your bike a wash immediately after any ride where you get stuck in the rain!
It’s a good idea to check your tyre pressure before every ride. Don’t run too much pressure, just what the tyre recommends. Too much pressure and you can blow a tyre off the rim, lose grip, and give yourself a harsher ride. Too little pressure and you can roll the tyre off the rim, increase your rolling resistance, and make your tyres more susceptible to punctures. Every week or so, give your tyre tread a good inspection (after washing your bike ideally) to make sure there are no cuts or other damage that could lead to an unwanted flat tyre out on the road.
Regular servicing is recommended if you’re not a do-it-yourself bike mechanic. A good local bike shop will maintain your running gear and cabling to ensure you’re replacing everything before it damages other parts of your bike.
Replace your chain every 5,000km so you don’t have to replace your chain and cassette at the same time, otherwise, replacing a chain and cassette at the same will be more costly. Worn out chains can be quite dangerous, as they could slip over the cogs, or in some cases snap, under load when you least expect it.