What are the periodic maintenance tasks (weekly, monthly, annual, every X miles) that anyone who relies on a bike for transportation (typically in urban/semi-urban environments) should be performing? Ideally stated in terms of miles travelled (where applicable).
My bike service guys wrote a blog article along these lines. You may find it useful.
The article recommends four principals for basic bike care. These are
- Keep your tyres pumped
- If it lives outside, use it. An unused bike exposed to the elements will fairly quickly rust & seize up
- Lubricate - little & often, less is more
- Check your cables and bring back tension where needed
Mostly it depends on where and how far you commute, and road conditions (sandy, snow, salt etc etc).
At a minimum what I do is:
Daily: check tire air pressure.
Weekly: Check brake pad wear, tire wear, clean/wipe down entire bike
Monthly: Check chain tension, chainring/cogs for wear, lube chain, adjust brakes, oil all pivot points on derailleurs, brakes etc.
Annually: complete tear down, inspection and reassembly with synthetic grease on all bearings.
Being a big guy (~400lbs), I do a lot of damage to my bikes, so I check things more often and most of the time there isn't a problem. It's just better to double check. So as a result, here is my paranoid check schedule:
- Brake fine adjust (at the lever to maintain feel).
- Chain lube.
- Chain cleaning (if it has been wet out, this can be more often than below).
- Clean disc brakes with rubbing alcohol.
- Tire pressure by feel (squeeeeze, it's like a hug for your tires!).
- Brake feel (give it a good hard stab on my way out of the driveway).
Every 3 rides:
- Accurate tire pressure.
- Headset adjustment.
- It's a quick check, takes all of 30 seconds if it isn't out of adjustment.
- Visually check the brakes for any damage or maladjustment.
- Bottom bracket adjustment.
- Chain clean.
- Wheel bearing check.
- Accessory tightness (is that rear rack still attached?).
- Lube rear cog bearings with chain lube.
Every 3 months:
- Chain ring bolts.
- Pedal bearings and make sure they're tight.
This depends greatly on the type of bicycle: a Dutch type commuter bike requires very little maintenance. Simply checking tire pressure weekly/monthly and maybe lubricating the chain once a year will keep it in good conditions for years (with minimal repairs needed).
The reason is that very few sensitive parts are exposed to weather and outside conditions: completely covering chaincase, internal hub gear, hub dynamo, etc.
My feeling is that it does help a lot to store the bike inside or at least under a roof to better protect it from rusting.
The rear red light may require special attention. It is much less safe without it, and impossible to notice what it is suddenly off because the battery has ran out on the way. Mine has the charge indicator that I check daily and keep at "fully charged" (likely above 75 %). Front light is also important but at least you see if it works.