Bicycling to keep fit: useful tools, maintenance to do, and costs when doing so

Bicycling is an excellent way to keep fit, which is what many people could use these days doing sedentary work, not doing any or not much sport but instead playing computer games, phone games, and even for alternative interests such as gambling you can, and many people do that, online on a site like 22Bet.

What do you need? Well, if you want to do simple stuff yourself you don’t need much in tools, otherwise the cost of tools can get pretty high, and some things are best to leave to a bicycle repair shop unless you are serious about fixing everything on your bicycle, such as to replace a bottom bracket.

  • Tools. Hex keys from 2-8 mm and an adjustable wrench are the start. Tyre repair kit with tyre levers and patch kit ($/euro 10), chain breaker (prices start at ca. $/euro 10) to remove the old chain if it doesn’t use a quick connector and to shorten the new chain to the correct length (compare it wit the one on there to see how long it needs to be) and for single speed chains you can put the chain together with it too (otherwise a chain link such as KMC’s ‘Missing link’, if not included with the new chain, you can buy these for ca. $/euro 8 per pair). Chain wear checker, ca. $/EUR 10-30.

More advanced: Spoke wrench to fix a wheel, cone wrenches to adjust cup and cone bearings. To replace a rear cassette you need a chain whip and lockring tool. These cost ca. 30-50 euro together.

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  • Maintenance: cleaning jockey wheels, lubrication for the chain (you can use just about any lubricant, there are dry lubricants with wax which are supposed to keep the chain clean, but then you need to degrease the chain first as new they all come with ‘wet grease’, i.e. an oil that attracts dirt), cleaning of the chain. To clean the chain you can use any degreaser. You can open up jockey wheels that have sleeve bearings and put new grease in them. A can of grease is useful for cup and cone bearings in pedals, some hubs, some jockey wheels.
  • Replacement parts that wear out that you can easily replace yourself if you have the right tools:

–  A new chain. You need one once per ca. 2000 km if you ride fast with a derailleur system, otherwise, and that goes for single speed chains too (not just used on single speed bikes, but also on some bikes with internal gear hubs) the chain will last longer especially if fully enclosed in a chainguard. Cost is ca. 10-30 euro for single speed up to 11 speed chains, but there are far higher priced ones in each category. I wouldn’t bother with them as the chain is basically disposable, it wears out.

– Rear cassette or rear sprockets.  These usually last 5000km to 10000 km. These cost at minimum ca. 10-30 depending on the type, cost is much higher for special types such as 12 speed cassettes or special lightweight (such as titanium) cassettes. I consider cassettes like chains: Disposable. Therefore I don’t buy lightweight nor expensive ones.

– Tyres: Especially for touring and city use it is best to use tyres that have a puncture resistant layer. Cost is about $/euro 25 per tyre. The rear one will last from 5000 km to 15000 km depending on load, the front one longer. When the tread is gone you can still ride with them as aquaplaning is not an issue with bicycles at normal speeds, but at that point you need to start looking for a new tyre.

– A few spare inner tubes, which are about $/euro 8 each.

  • If you ride a lot of long rides then cycling clothes could be useful if you like to ride fast. You don’t need to wash them after each ride, and keep you fairly dry by wicking away your sweat.
  • For long rides to relax your arms and to ride more comfortably with a headwind, you may install an aero bar. These are not just for time trials, I see a lot of people on touring bikes with them. Cheap ones are available from ca. $/EUR 25.
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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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