What Essential Bike Maintenance is Needed Whilst on a Cycle Tour?

What I need to do for maintenance whilst on a long distance tour I am planning? This will depend on what kind of conditions you're riding in, what condition your bike is in, etc, but I think these are the basics:

Give the bike a once-over about once a day.

  • Check the tyres by hand / guage and increase pressure if needed daily.
  • Clean chain
  • Lube chain.
  • Check headset for looseness.
  • Check wheels hubs for lateral movement and spokes for trueness and tension.
  • When you get a flat, make sure to remove the offending pointy thing from your tire. Run you hand around the inside of the tyre (be careful).
  • Check tightness of rack fixtures daily.
  • Check tightness of quick releases.
  • Check cranks aren't loose by attempting to move them laterally. Tighten if needed.
  • Check for general loose bolts & fittings affected by vibrations.
  • Rotate chain every 3000 miles depending on conditions. Check chain wear with a chain gauge if available (otherwise check excess lateral movement).
  • Check brake cables for any damage and test the brakes work by holding them and pushing the bike back and forth (not sitting on it)


Naturally other things can go wrong, but I think these are the main things that you can rely on going wrong or needing attention. And don't forget maintenance on your body. Be prepared for sunburn, saddle sores, hotspots on your feet, muscle aches, etc.

Thanks to Adam Rice, mattnz, Danniel Hicks, heltonbiker, JamesBradbury Photo credit

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