Bike Maintenance 101: How to Keep Your Kid’s Bike In Top Shape

Who remembers obtaining their first bike? No matter which of the generations you fall under, having one’s bike seemed to give the first feeling of independence so many of us wanted.

From those who saved up their allowance for brand new or are of the generation who often found parts at the local tip and fixed it up themselves. Whether you fell under that of a BMX bandit or a mountain bike maniac, buying a kids bike still has a long-standing as a gateway to independence.

It is also good to start your child early, even as a toddler (with training wheels of course), for, other than being a form of exercise and teaching many fine motor skills, it helps your child learn balance, keeps their posture in check, as well as builds core, lower limb strength and bilateral coordination.

Mastering the art of riding a bike is a big step in the life of your little one but teaching them (and yourself) how to properly maintain their bike is equally important to ensure their new set of wheels lasts and is always safe. Luckily, kids bike maintenance can be mastered in just five simple steps!

Step One: Choose The Right Size

When it comes to selecting the best one for your child among the variety out there, it may make you feel like a hand-me-down would be a good tactic.  That said, choosing the right kid’s bikes can be much like choosing shoes. Too large and balance becomes an issue, too small and their posture and lower back can be affected from being cramped.

Before you go about being a bike mechanic, know how the bike can fit your child. A good way to do this is with bike charts, which can help you adjust each bike to your child’s age and ability. However, if you really want to be sure, first measure your child’s inseam and height, then reference a bike size chart. Ensure the child’s feet can touch the ground while seated. Choose an adjustable bike to accommodate growth. Safety and comfort are paramount, so allow the child to test ride before purchase.

Step Two: Schedule A Service

How well the bike is maintained can hold well for its longevity and how well it will suit anyone else, should you choose to use or sell it as a hand-me-down later on.  Therefore, bike checks and maintenance should be, to a certain extent, serviced like any other mechanical device.

This can mean that upkeep of the bike’s overall condition could be an annual scheduled task, while general maintenance and safety checks can be done after each or a certain number of rides.  Whether you teach the kids how to do it themselves or get the bikes professionally serviced at a bike shop, it is wise to teach your kids how to check for and fix issues with their bikes.

Step Three: Do Regular Brake Checks

As much as your kids need to learn to steer and balance, it’s just like Newton’s law – you need to make sure they have brakes that will function properly and allow them to stop. This is a part of your child’s bike safety that should be reviewed and adjusted regularly.

The best way to do a check of the brakes is to do the back and forward test.

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    This involves squeezing the right-hand brake lever and moving the bike forward, then back to a standing position before doing the reverse with the left-hand brake lever. If it meets at the handlebars without stopping, it’s time to see the professional mechanic.

    Step Four: Test Tyre Pressure

    Another worthwhile step to teach your kids in their bike safety education is how to check and adjust the air pressure in their tyres. Start by teaching your kids to find the suggested air pressure, listed as PSI, on the tire’s side.

    Next, show them how to use a tire pressure gauge to measure the current PSI and a pump to adjust it. Talk about how too little or too much air can impact their ride and safety. It’s also important to encourage routine checks, helping them understand and take part in looking after their bike.

    Step Five: Chain Care and Cleaning

    Of the three main fundamental elements of bike mechanics, the chain is the part that requires the most delicate care, but it doesn’t have to be an arduous task. Use some chain oil to lubricate the chain once a week, regardless of how much your child rides it.

    This works to prevent rust and helps the mechanism function properly. You don’t need to apply much for it to work, just apply it carefully with a damp rag. It is also wise to go over the bike with warm, soapy water once every few months, or more if your child rides in muddy or wet conditions, to keep it functioning and looking its brilliant best.

    Some final care tips:

    As some final reminders for proper maintenance, so that your kid’s bike can span the test of time, remember:

    • Check the horn or bell, so that others will know when they’re around.
    • Make sure they learn proper storage care: Keep away from the elements and out of the driveway.
    • If unsure, seek professionals. Your child’s safety is more important than a trial-and-error test.
    • Just like us, with regular use, the bike lives longer.

    Happy riding, readers!

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    Bike Maintenance 101: How to Keep Your Kid's Bike In Top Shape — Bike Hacks