Does your bike need a tuneup? The reason why I ask is mainly for personal reasons but my reason might be your reason, if that makes any sense. You see, my wife and I took off early this morning for a quick bike ride. We live on top of a hill and you ride your brakes all the way down the hill until you cross a busy street and then hit the path at the bottom of the hill.
Problem 1: I need new front brake pads.
I knew that I needed new front brake pads but kept putting it off because when I ride along the path, it is usually a very casual ride and you don't run into too much traffic. Nevertheless, its come to the point where because the ride down the hill is so steep and there is a lot of car traffic at the bottom of the hill, it is time to change at least the front brake pads. Bike brake pads are fairly cheap if you get them at the right place, so you should expect to spend anywhere between $4 and $20 for a pair, depending on the type of brake pads that you currently use.
My wife was going through the gears on her bike as we went from riding the flat path to going up a slight incline and noticed that the gears weren't shifting correctly between the 4th and 5th gears. It was sort of hanging between the gears and you could hear the chain rattling. This should be an easy fix because normally you can just tighten the gear cable on the bike and this small adjustment should get the gears going again.
Problem 2: Gear cable needs to be changed.
The issue with the gear cable on my wife's bike is that the cable is frayed. Sure, we could cut off the part that is frayed but because the cable is frayed and the cable is maybe 3-4 years old, I think we will just go ahead and replace the cable and perhaps the whole cable housing. This is what a gear cable with the housing looks like. You can also buy a gear cable or what some call shift cables without the housing.
This video shows a few of the points that you might want to look at when tuning up your bike. I highly recommend truing your wheels at least yearly because you would be amazed at how "out of true" your wheels become. What do I mean by that? Well, your wheels will start to wobble from side to side and all of that side to side motion negates the going forward motion that you are trying to achieve as you ride your bike.
How To Tune Up Your Bike
Tuning up your bike should be done on a yearly basis. I made the mistake of putting off some minor adjustments but as you go from one year to the next, those minor problems can add up both in cost to fix and the potential to be a dangerous bike. No one wants that. My recommendation is to put oil on your chain, check the air pressure in the tires, and give your bike a once over. This way you will enjoy your riding much more as well as prolong the length of your bike.