1. The Basics:
Store your bike inside if you can. While bike theft is a concern when you live in a city, the elements will wear your bike even when you’re not on it. Damp conditions can rust your chain, and dry, dusty conditions can wear down o-rings and cause them to crack and break. Don’t ever use WD40 on your bicycle chain. WD40 will actually strip the oil off of your chain and create metal to metal contact, which will ruin the cassette, the crank and your chain.
2. Chain Lube:
This is the easiest element of bike maintenance, but it’s also commonly misunderstood. When you oil your chain, make sure you hit the right spots of the chain, mainly where the links attach. When you lube your chain, put a drop on each place where the links connect, letting the oil soak in for a few minutes before wiping the chain to thoroughly clean off any excess oil.
Did you know bicycle chains have tiny o-rings at the point where one meets the other? If these rubber o-rings get old, crack and break, the links of your chain can be in real trouble. A properly oiled chain will last longer, as will the o-rings.
4. Wash Your Bike:
This doesn’t mean hosing it down with water. In fact, high pressure water, like that from a hose, can actually cause more damage than normal wet conditions do. Instead, most dirty bike parts can be wiped down with a wet rag, though other parts may need some brushing or buffing. Basic bike cleaning supplies include a rag, soap, water, fine brushes and bike-specific cleaning solvents. Read the instructions carefully and wear gloves if advised on the label.
Adapted from UCLA Be A Green Commuter Blog