As we've said before, cycling can be a great way to get around off the grid, and even has the added benefit of helping you stay in shape. However, it's not necessarily as simple as hopping on a bike and going for a ride. Like any vehicle, it's essential to keep tabs on the maintenance and wear items. Otherwise, you could end up stranded and pushing a broken bicycle on the journey back home.

The following infographic from shows ten of the most important mechanical components of a bicycle, and gives a few helpful tips on how to maintain each item.

Bicycle Maintenance Checklist 1

Obviously, it won't be necessary to meticulously check each of these items before every ride, but they're good to look out for if you buy a used bike or remove one from long-term storage. For bikes that are regularly ridden, a simplified version of this bicycle maintenance checklist can be used, and is often called the “ABC” check. Here's what each letter stands for:

  • Air – Inflate each tire to the rated pressure stamped on the sidewall. Use a pressure gauge to check the PSI, if your pump doesn't have one built-in. Also inspect the tread for damage or punctures.
  • Brakes – Spin each wheel and check for brake clearance/rubbing. Check brake pad adjustment and remaining material (which should be more than 1/4 inch thick). Check the adjustment of each brake lever, which should be about 1 inch from the handlebar when fully squeezed.
  • Chain – Ensure the chain is lubricated, clean, and operating smoothly. Occasionally scrubbing the chain clean and applying fresh lubricant will prevent future wear or derailment.


When it comes to survival, simplicity is key, and vehicles don't get much simpler than a bicycle. Just give your bike a little maintenance now and then, and it will reward you with reliable, speedy transportation for years to come.

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