Looking after your bike
When you have a bike out on hire for expended periods, you might find that you need to do some light maintenance. This section will give you some pointers and things to look out for with your bike.
Wheels and tyres
Make sure the tyres are pumped up – this doesn’t mean they have to be rock hard but if they get too flat there is the risk of punctures as well as bending the wheel out of shape
Spokes – the spokes should have even tension. If a spoke breaks – get it fixed immediately as this causes the wheel to be bent out of true and can be dangerous.
The gears are all operated by a hub on the wheel. If you think that they are not working properly, first of all make sure that you are not peddling whilst changing gear, this is different from a mountain bike but is often the reason people think the gears aren’t working.
If the problem seems to be that the gears don’t seem to be staying (this is often called ‘slipping’) then you may need someone have a look at the gear cables. There are a number of bike mechanics – (please see links page) who can do this for you.
Most of the bikes have hub or coaster brakes. These have a long life span and you should not have any problems with the brakes. The models that don’t are the front brakes on the Bobbins and the Pashley. These may need replacing if you have had the bike out for a long time as they can get worn.
Coaster or back pedal brakes are not as instant as a typical V-brake. This means it is important that you gradually slow down as you approach junctions and lights. You should use the brake lever with the coaster brake for more instant stops.
If your brakes screech this is usually because the wheel rim is wet. Remember if it is wet then to be extra careful when braking.
All our bikes come with integrated front lights that run off the power generated by the bike – this is known as a dynamo system. You do not need to replace batteries or worry about them being stolen as they are integrated into the design of the bike.
Most of the back lights work off the same system and will come on when you switch on the front light. The exception to this is the Gazelle, Tournee and the Pashley both of which run off batteries and need switching on and off.
Problems and Solutions
The back light is not working. There are a number of potential reasons for this, for bikes that you need to separately switch on and off you may need a new bulb or battery. For the other bikes it may be that a connection has come loose, or you need to replace the bulb.
Front light is not working – make sure you have switched it on – sometimes the switch is difficult to get into position. If it is still on working there could be a loose connection or the bulb needs replacing.
Also remember as soon as you stop the front light will switch off as it is run off the energy you were creating by cycling. Don’t worry though the back light stores some energy and will continue to shine for 3 to 4 minutes if you have stopped for a light.
All Darlovelo bikes have chain guards. This means that they are protected from dirt and are also very unlikely to come off. If you are unlucky enough for this to happen to you, you will need to take the chain guard off. You will probably need some assistance to do this.
Most of our baskets are attached to the back pannier carrier. Sometimes the screws come loose due to the constant shaking when riding along. Do check your basket regularly for this – you can tighten the screws using allen key.
Front Baskets – be careful not to overload these as this can make steering difficult.
Wicker baskets and rain! If your basket does get rained upon (it’s inevitable if you are using it regularly) make sure you dry it out to avoid it getting mouldy and weak.
Repair Service for Members
Darlovelo members benefit from reduced charges on bicycle repairs and servicing. Take a look at our benefits page for more details.