How to keep your child’s bike running in good condition

Date: 2021-10-06 Posted by: Yogesh Chauhan, Co-Founder & CEO, Beetle Bikes

We come across a lot of cases where a child is unable to ride her/his bike due to multiple small and nagging issues in the bike that keep occurring from time to time. Most of these issues are quite small and do not warrant the entire effort of visiting a bike service shop – however, due to these issues, the child does not find cycling comfortable or enjoyable.

We are listing a few simple things that can be done by you or the child at home that will ensure that these issues don’t kill the pleasure of riding a bike.

1.    Bike Cleaning:
Just this one act will take care of 90% of your problems! Take it from us, we clean our bikes ourselves at home! 
When a bike is not cleaned regularly, it leads to accumulation of dirt, oil and other unsavory stuff at all the wrong places – drive train, brakes, bearings et al. With just a simple wash, you can ensure that your kids’ bike will need to go to the service centre far less frequently!

All you need to clean your child’s bike is a bucket of soap water, some old rags and a used toothbrush and some normal water for rinsing. 

The frame, tyres, saddle and handlebar area just need soap water cleaning followed by rinsing. The chain, crank & rear freewheel will need a bit of brushing with concentrated soap water.  

Cleaning can be cone once every 7-10 days or depending upon storage/usage conditions. In general, if you can see a thin layer of dust on the bike, it needs cleaning! 

2.    Bike storage
Bikes very often don’t get the love that they deserve! They usually get stored in the common parking areas, or in balconies and are usually exposed to the sun and elements. Dust, sun, rain and general exposure to the elements leads to a lot of wear and tear of parts. 
The parts that get most damaged with such storage are:
Drive train: Dust accumulates on the chain/crank/freewheel as these are lubricated parts. Dust sticks to the oil on these parts. When the cycle is used, dust will lead to significant wear and tear due to increased friction.
Saddle, Grips: These get completely damaged in the sun and would need replacement much earlier than normally required. 
Tyre/Tube: Most prominent impact of the sun is on tyres and tubes. Natural elements lead to significant erosion of tyre and tubes even without normal use of the bike. 

It is best to store your child’s bike in shade. If this is not possible, cover it with a thick piece of cloth or cover. A cover is definitely needed if the storage area has exposure to dust. 

3.    Oiling/Lubrication
Lubrication of moving parts will lead to slower deterioration of parts due to wear and tear. Principally there is only the transmission that needs periodic lubrication as it is exposed. Ideally you need a specific chain lubricant for this purpose, however, you can also work with light machine oil.

Do clean the chain with soap water solution before lubricating it again. 

4.    Taking care of tyres/tubes 
Tyres & Tubes are the most common reasons for inability to use the bike. Punctures or loss of air pressure will render the bike unusable till the problem is resolved.

While the best case is to learn to how to fix a puncture(read our other blogs on this), you can also try to avoid punctures as much as possible by doing two simple things: a. Keep the pressure in the tubes at the recommended level and not below it. And b. As far as possible, avoid storing the bike in direct sunlight. This causes excessive and rapid wear of tyres leading to frequent punctures

Do read our other blogs on how to repair your kids’ bikes!