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Tune in for this Bike Tune-up!

Posted on July 1, 2020
Bike Repair


Three practical things you can do at home to improve your bike’s working condition

The weather is getting nicer and biking numbers have already been on the rise in Bellevue…so now is the perfect time to dust off your bicycle, get outside and go for a ride! Before doing so, it might prove useful to give your two-wheeled, human-powered machine a little tune-up to make sure things are good to go. Here are three easy tasks you can do from home to get your bike in great condition:

  • Clean the chain
    • It’s easier to do than you think; aids shifting/accelerating; and extends the life of your chain.
      • Remove chain and soak it in hot water with dish soap for 16-24 hours
      • Disassemble and clean each roller with a cotton swab
      • Spray speed degreaser onto the chain and wipe clean with a dry rag (Finish Line is great and can be purchased at your local bike shop)
      • Apply lube when finished
      • In-depth video here
  • Adjust the brakes
    • When pulled, does your brake lever reach the handlebar without stopping your bike? If so, your brakes are worn or your cables are stretched! Do the following:
      • Turn the barrel adjuster on the brake caliper clockwise one click at a time, testing your brakes after each adjustment
      • If you reach the last click and still haven’t solved the problem, turn it clockwise until it stops, loosen the pinch bolt and pull a small amount of cable through
      • Tighten the pinch bolt and repeat the process until you get the right amount of tension
      • In-depth video here
  • Smooth out shifting
    • You’ll want to make sure there are no jumps or skips in your chain, which most likely come from loose cable tension.
      • Get your bicycle on a repair stand (which can be purchased for as little as $20), and shift to the smallest cog
      • Turn the barrel adjuster on the rear derailleur one-half turn clockwise
      • As you rotate your pedals, shift once
      • If the chain doesn’t jump to the next cog, make another half-turn
      • If the chain starts to jump to cogs for every one shift, you went too far, so back it down a half-turn
      • Don’t turn the barrel adjuster more than halfway at a time – you may end up with too much tension
      • In depth video here

Of course you can always contact your local bike shop for bike tune-ups, maintenance and repair. Need help finding bike shops and knowing where to ride in Bellevue? The newly updated 2020 Bellevue Bike Map can help. Want a hard copy? Call 425-452-6856 or email

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex



REI Degreaser

How to Perfectly Clean Chain - Global Cycling Network

How to Adjust Bike Brakes - Howcast

Getting Your Gears Running Smoothly


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