40 Bike Tips And Tricks For A Smoother Ride

By Navkiran K November 16, 2021

Are you searching for a way to feel more comfortable on your bike? How about how to stop your brakes from squeaking? Or are you unsure what kind of gear oil is right for your bike? If so, then this article is calling your name.

We’ve put together 40 bike hacks that every rider needs to know. Whether it’s as simple as knowing when it’s time for new tires or something a little more complicated like removing water from your chain, these tips are sure to make riding more manageable and more enjoyable.

Challenge yourself with these lesser-known bike hacks to have a smooth time on the road all the time. Learn what to carry in your pack, how to keep going in harsh conditions, film amazing videos, and even make yourself more comfortable while on a break!

Dollar Dollar Bill Y’all

If you have a flat tire, it can ruin your daily ride. The worst part is when you stop and see that there is a hole in the side of the tire or casing. You might need help from someone close by to change the tire.

Image courtesy of bikeundbier

Fortunately, notes make great temporary patches, especially the new ‘plasticky’ polymer notes. Not only can it buy enough food to get you out of the tricky situation, but it also serves as a boot if you puncture one of your tires.

Get A Handlebar Bag To Carry Essentials 

Need a way to carry your snacks and tools without feeling like you’re in the pro peloton? Then handlebar bags might be the way to go. They come with easy-to-use straps and are the perfect accessory that will keep your things close by.

Image courtesy of techradar.com

It’s also not a must-have item, but if you need to have your valuables close by and often stop to reach for your cash, then this bike handlebar bag can be an advantage. You won’t waste time searching through pant or jacket pockets any longer. 

Freeze Your Water To Beat The Heat

Drinking water may help you stay hydrated, but it’s not the only way. When summertime hits and your thirst becomes unbearable in the scorching heat, don’t forget about freezing half a bottle of water to cool you off quickly.

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Instead of stopping every 30 minutes for water breaks, just take some time to sip on your iced slushy that was once a solid frozen water bottle. They’ll thaw out after about one hour so you can stay hydrated, and your water will be cold. 

Clean Your Bike Skewer For A Smoother Ride

If your bike’s axles seize up, it will probably make a weird noise. It usually happens because of the metal rubbing against each other. And who wants that? That is why you should use quick releases for safety reasons.

Image courtesy of bikeradar.com

When your bike creaks, it’s most likely because of a skewer or thru-axle. Take it out and clean off any dirt that’s causing this issue before greasing up those threads with some light lubricant, so they operate smoothly again. 

Fig Newtons Are The Epic Crunch

Don’t let your stomach give you trouble on bike rides. To keep it happy while you’re out for a long ride, you should avoid foods that have slow-burning fat and less protein, like ice cream. Choose higher carbohydrate options instead, like fig newtons.

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Biking and fig newtons are a match made in heaven, according to riders. They’re delicious and will keep you energized for hours. Apart from this, they are much cheaper than the fancy energy bars and provide you with similar nutrition benefits. 

Try To Lift Your Bike Handlebars

Slamming the stem might look cool on a bike, but it can be painful. If you’re not flexible, then riding in this position will make your hamstrings and back hurt afterward. It also increases the pressure in your arms and wrists when you ride.

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So, if you find that your hands hurt on long rides, even with gloves, then try lifting the handlebars a little and putting a spacer underneath by raising them only one centimeter, which will tremendously increase your comfort when you’re on a long ride.

Create Your Own Fender Shield With Soda Bottle 

When it rains, many of us are hesitant to put away our bikes. But why? There’s so much you can do on a bike even when the weather is unpredictable. This is when those nifty fenders that help keep your clothes clean come in handy. 

Image courtesy of bicycling.com

But what if your fenders are not long enough? Don’t worry! This bike hack will help you to solve this problem. Cut off a section of a soda bottle and use it as an extension for your fenders by super gluing them together. It’s like getting two freebies with one purchase.

Use Water Bottle As A Wiper 

If you ride over a piece of glass or debris when biking, do not wipe the tire with your hand. Instead, use water to clean the tire to avoid cutting your palm. This tip also helps to prevent accidentally dragging your fingers into the rear brake.

Image courtesy of cyclingweekly.com

Never forget the essential part of any good ride, which is protecting yourself. Water bottles are the way to go if you want an easy and safe DIY tire repair. It’s also inexpensive, so there’s no excuse for not keeping one on hand.

Get A Rubber Ski Straps

Ever heard of bike-packing? It’s a great way to experience the outdoors using your bicycle. But, if you don’t want to buy expensive backpacks or tents, rubber ski straps are an affordable way of attaching your sleeping bag onto the bars.

Image courtesy of shapeways.com

You can turn any old bag into the perfect bike packing companion with a bit of ingenuity and creativity. These straps secure any ordinary sleeping bag, so you can easily carry all of your supplies in one place while pedaling along your journey.

Prop It Up For Some Photography

There are some nifty ways to take pictures of your bike or for other people who need a good picture with their bikes. Whether it’s your new bike or you just want to show off on social media, we’ve got the best prop for you to use.

Image courtesy of easthomes.co.uk

If you want to create an exciting and easy photoshoot situation, wedge a stick in the bottom bracket of the pedal on the opposite side from where you are standing. It will look as though your bike is standing up all alone. 

Try To Hook Your Hand Closest To The Curb

It is vital to keep your balance when riding a bike. One way of doing this, which can be difficult at first but becomes easier with practice, involves hooking your hand closest to the curb into your pocket with enough force.  

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This will help prevent torso rotation from happening too much. It also allows you to ride straight and not lean from side to side. This will further secure you, so no sudden movements occur, keeping you safe from swerving into oncoming traffic or potentially dangerous situations. 

Put Your Gear Together The Night Before

If you struggle with motivation during your early-morning bike rides, make sure to organize all of your gear before starting out. This will help get rid of any obstacles in between so that riding becomes effortless for a more productive session.

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It may seem like we could do this in the morning, but there is something about seeing everything ready to go that makes us so much more motivated to bike. Also, it becomes more of a hassle not to ride if you don’t start early enough.

Always Carry Latex Gloves

It can be such a disruption when your tire goes down, and you may have nothing available in the saddlebag to fix it with besides duct tape. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to carry some latex gloves in case your tire goes flat. 

Image courtesy of bebemagnet.com

The latex gloves will keep your hands from getting dirty, and they make fixing flats a lot less messy. For additional points, place an inner tube inside the saddlebag to protect it against punctures from tools in case anything happens. 

Reuse The Bike Packaging

Bikes are the perfect choice for exploring new places, but it can be daunting if you’re hauling your bike on an airplane. You’ll need protection and information to ensure that everything goes smoothly without getting any scratch on it. 

Image courtesy of Bicycle Retailer

You can reuse your old bike packing materials to transport them safely. Packaging like foam tubes, chip wrap, and bubble wrap will protect it from getting damaged. This is a fantastic way of eliminating waste and make flying with bikes much safer.

Get A Magic Eraser To Clean Your Cycling Shoes

It’s not easy to keep those white cycling shoes clean and shiny, is it? If you find yourself struggling with the problem of ruining your new-shoe shine after just one trek or cycle, then this hack can do wonders for you.

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A Magic Eraser is the perfect solution for restoring your cycling shoes. You can use it to clean stubborn dirt that is hard to get off. Add some water and squeeze out the eraser, rub it on your boots, and voila! Your shiny shoes are ready.

Use Beer Koozie As A Storage

You can store your rolled-up inner tube in a saddlebag or tool shed with some ingenuity. Also, you can utilize a beer koozie to hold folded tires and keep everything else at hand, which you might need when changing a flat tire.

Image courtesy of bebemagnet.com

This means, if there is ever a problematic situation during your bike ride, then these items will be right where they need to be at hand’s reach. So, who needs a tool shed when you can just store your rolled-up inner tube in the beer koozie? 

Use A Credit Card To Spread The Brake Pads

Brake pads are an essential part of a bike. You can’t ride without them. Luckily, most brake pad issues only require the removal and a return-to position when it comes to adjusting. Or, you made need to reset after the wheels are squeezed during a ride. 

Image courtesy of Trevor Raab/bicycling.com

A credit card is a good tool for fixing brake pad issues. It works as a perfect substitute for any special tools that you might need to fix the brake pads. So, if you ever have a problem, keep your credit card handy.

Pack The Long-Distance Delights

You might be wondering how to fuel your body while bike riding. Should you eat carbs or protein? The answer is both. A long bike trek requires a lot of energy and carbohydrates to keep yourself full and active. 

Image courtesy of cyclingsmarter.com

There’s nothing like Uncrustables in your pocket when you’re looking to take on that long ride. These little packets of deliciousness will keep anyone cool for miles on end. Plus, they come in different flavors that everyone will love.

Tape The Cue Sheet To Your Stem

When you are rushing to start a new event, you may find yourself worried about remembering where everything you need is. Don’t fret! Navigation becomes much less of an issue with a bit of imagination and creativity (or even duct tape). 

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Simply taping the cue sheet on the stem makes the path simpler by looking at what part of the paper corresponds with which section on the bicycle frame. Also, for your benefit, you won’t be distracted by other drivers while cycling.

Hang Your Bike Using Two Old Tires

If you don’t have a work stand or need some temporary storage space for your bike outside but want it out of sight, this bike hack is the perfect space-saving solution. All that’s required are two old car tires, which you should be able to find easily.

Image courtesy of rollohomes.com

However, it is not super sturdy, but it’ll hold up in a pinch. These components are meant for light use and should be treated with care to avoid premature wear over time. But, it’ll get the job done when all else fails. 

Retention System Repairs

The most important feature of a cycling shoe is its retention system. Designed to keep your feet in place, they need to provide both comfort and stability while also being lightweight enough for all-day use on long rides with no discomfort.

Image courtesy of ashleydelotz/Unsplash

But what if the dial comes loose or breaks? If your shoes have a BOA retention system, then you don’t have to worry about getting replacing them with a new one. The company’s customer service will repair or replace the dial for free.

Go Easy on the Torque

One of the most crucial things to take care of when you are working on your bicycle is torque. If it’s too loose or tight, this can really cause problems for how smoothly the bike moves and functions correctly.

Image courtesy of roadcyclinguk.com

Taking care to torque your bicycle correctly will help you avoid damaging expensive parts. Make sure to go easy and not use extreme force with your arm. This can lead to more damage than good if you’re pedaling and tightly gripping simultaneously.

Protect Your Valuables With A Pocket Protector

Don’t let your car keys ruin the integrity of that new jersey you just bought. Get a pocket protector, and no one will be able to tell if anything gets ripped or shredded. Pocket protectors are perfect for keeping many things safe.

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In addition, you can put your wallets, cell phone, keys in a pocket protector while still maintaining the original appearance. Nothing beats safety when it comes down to guarding valuable things against scratches or tears from unnecessary handling.

Secure Your Water Bottle Cage

The way to keep your water bottle safe during a trip is by securing it in the cage. Metal bottle cages are great for protecting your water bottles when you’re on the go, but they can’t protect them from every source of danger. 

Image courtesy of RzlBrz007700/Pixabay

Thankfully, there’s always a way to make sure that everything goes smoothly if you have the right tools. Metal, plastic, or carbon cages can all be modified with skateboard grip tape to make slippage less prominent when riding on bumpy roads.

Get A Bigger Tire 

Running on a low tire pressure can be frustrating and dangerous. In addition, if you have an airless bike or inflatable tires, then not having enough pressure in them will make for some uncomfortable experiences, especially when riding on rough terrain. 

Image courtesy of Valentin Ruhl/granfondo-cycling

So, what’s the best way to conquer rough roads? Try using a larger tire size with lower pressure which will make riding across uneven roads easier while still managing grip well even if you come across some obstacles on your journey. 

Use Your Helmet Strap To Guard Your Bike

The helmet strap is a genius invention for when you need to leave your bike unattended and just want some peace of mind. It is the perfect way to lock up your bike without having to purchase an expensive u-lock or cable running through both wheels.

Image courtesy of starpointsystems.com

You can simply strap it around your bike using its elastic cord. However, they aren’t the most reliable protection against thefts compared to locks, but they can prevent quick grabs that happen when people are in a hurry or distracted by other things around them. 

Buy Derailleur Hanger To Keep Spare Parts safe 

Spare parts are a rider’s best friend. If you’re the type of cyclist that always keeps a spare part on hand, then you will want to invest in some derailleur hanger sections. This will keep small items like screws or bolts from getting lost.

Image courtesy of societycycleworks.com

You can keep your bike equipped and in top-notch condition with this handy tool. It will also make sure nothing goes wrong during the journey. And in case something happens, then you will always have an extra part on hand.

Turn Your Old Water Bottle Into Tool Caddy 

If your bike ever breaks down and demands minor repairs on the side of a road, do you have what’s required to fix it? Building an easy-to-carry toolkit can significantly improve your chances. An old water bottle is all that’s needed for simple construction.

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Cut off the top of one water bottle to hold your tools. Cut the bottom off another water bottle and use it as a lid. Now, mount an extra water bottle holder and keep whatever’s needed in it in case you run into an emergency situation. 

Use The Old Inner Tube To Wrap The Chainstay

One of the most annoying sounds when biking is chain slapping, which you can hear every time you descend an off-road section or make a sharp turn. Some bikes are fitted with chainstay protectors, but they only protect the frame underneath. 

Image courtesy of Burwell/mbr.co.uk

A common and cheap fix for noisy bike chains is to cut up an inner tube and wrap it around the frame’s chainstay. This will stop it from making noise. Or, you can buy insulation tape, which can also help to make it quieter.

Never Go Pump-less

It’s never a poor idea to keep your bike in tip-top shape with the use of a saddlebag and mini pump. These durable accessories allow you to carry everything from spare tubes, patches, and tire levers all across town or even countrywide.

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You’ll thank yourself later the next time you head out for an extended ride because not only do they provide easy access mid-ride, but they also reduce your chances of getting stranded with a puncture wound in your tire— you’ll appreciate their compact design that easily clips onto most seats.

Level It Up

When setting up your bike, it is pivotal to get the saddle height just right. This will help with comfort and performance as well as injury prevention. But, if you don’t have any measuring equipment at hand, it might not be so easy to do so.

Image courtesy of Yuzuru Sunada/roadbikeaction.com

Luckily there’s a solution; a 4-foot level is an easy way to measure just about every part of a bike fit. However, make sure that you get an inexpensive plastic one; metal ones might break carbon tubes if they’re dropped accidentally. 

Get A Small Bottle Of Sealant

A flat tire can be fixed with sealant or by using an extractor. Even if you get a second puncture, one application of adhesive or an extractor will fix it. Stans No Tubes offers a 2-ounce bottle that also comes with an applicator.

Image courtesy of bikerumor.com

Moreover, this sealant is perfect for long rides. Some parts need a need quick tune-up while you’re out on a long journey. Even if the tire was ruptured by rocks or glass pieces in multiple places, it could still be saved with this handy tool. 

Invest In A Carbon Assembly Paste 

Seatpost slips are a pain in the neck. If your seat post slips and you over-torque the bolts, it could cause significant damage. Thankfully, there are products that can assist you in solving this problem and save your sanity. 

Image courtesy of dynamicbikecare.com

Carbon assembly paste lets you forget about your bike parts slipping or moving. Grease the bolts on seat post clamps for an even more friction-packed experience. Keep it in a tiny zip lock bag, so it’s always available when you need it. 

Always Pack A Wet Wipe In Your Saddle Bag

Greasy hands can make mess up your jersey, bar tape, and gloves in an instant. If you like to be clean, though, there are many ways that will help keep things tidy without getting any residue on yourself or anything else for that matter. 

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Baby wipes work great since they’re soft enough not to scratch even the most delicate clothes while also cleaning greasy substances with ease. You should always carry them with you in case you need to change a tire or have a snack break.

Keep Your Snacks In A Sturdy Box

Tired of cookies turning into dust by the time you get home from work after you bike home? Protect them with an extra sturdy box. Buy some treats for yourself, or make some fun snacks like dried fruit and granola bars. 

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When riding a bike to work or other areas, it’s essential that you pack enough food in your airtight box so that the snacks will stay fresh. We suggest packing something light and crispy like chips for an energy boost on long commutes. 

Wrap Your Spare Tubes

The thing about storing your tube in a saddlebag is that it’s sitting there with segments of plastic and metal for months while traveling thousands of miles. The worst part? You can’t see what’s going on inside, which could wear down its surface over time.

Image courtesy of mbaction

You might not think that a tube would be worth protecting, but you should always take the precaution of wrapping your spares in clear plastic to reduce any damage. It can’t hurt. It will only offer more protection and could help avoid future problems. 

Always Wipe Your Grease

One of the most discomforting things about biking is having an oily chain. Not only does it make your trousers dirty, but it also wears out parts faster since particles get stuck there more easily from all that excess grease. 

Image courtesy of Amy Wolff/bicycling.com

The best way to avoid riding with oily chains and causing calf grease is by draping a towel over your bike when applying lube. This will remind you that it needs to be cleaned before setting off, which we all know can be messy. 

Get A Tyvek Sheet

The best way to stay comfortable when camping is by making sure everything you bring along does not add unnecessary weight or bulk. Pack clothes and tents made out of materials that don’t require much washing and don’t add extra weight. 

Image courtesy of Gabriel Amadeus/Flickr

One way to make your bikepacking setup light and easy to carry is to not use a tent. Instead, use a Tyvek sheet for an adequate shelter that does not need much room in the pack. They are also indestructible and don’t break easily.

Make Small Upgrades In Your Bike 

Feeling like your bike is getting tired? Well, that’s not surprising. After all the miles you put on it and the rough terrain it endures over time, even a dependable rig can start feeling sluggish, especially if you want to go further than it’s ever taken you before.

Image courtesy of cyclist.co.uk

In addition, a simple change of bar tape, saddle, or a chain will do wonders for giving those old parts an upgrade, so they feel as responsive as new ones without blowing out your budget on a whole new ride.

Look Up While Opening Your Garage Door

Who wants to waste time searching for their garage door opener? That’s right, nobody! Put yours in an accessible place like a sunglass compartment and behind sunshades before opening the garage door so as to avoid major accidents. And also, be careful if your bike rack is on top of your car.

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Roof racks are great for transporting bikes. But, if you don’t take care of them while driving, they can be dangerous. Make sure the garage opener is put in its safe spot. That way, drivers will see it before they reach their destination.