Getting your wheels on

So, you’ve reached your destination.  You probably need to put your bike back together.  Let’s have a look at how to do it.

Back wheel

If you’ve taken this off, you’ll need to get it back on.  You basically need to do the “getting the wheel off” steps in reverse.  Pull the derailleur down and away from the bike (parallel to the wheel), and pop the wheel back in.  This is a bit fiddly, as you need to get the chain around the rear cassette.

Starting point

Pull the derailleur away from you

Pop the wheel back in, making sure the chain makes a loop around the cassette (the thing with the teeth)

End product

If you have disc brakes, make sure that the disc on the wheel goes into the little slot of your brakes (if not, you may not be stopping very well).

Wind the skewer up (clockwise), by holding onto the black knob and rotating the lever (or vice versa), then push the lever in.  You want this to be tight, but loose enough that you can get it undone with your fingers.  Make sure you do the lever up.  You don’t want the wheel falling off if you go over a bump while you’re riding.

If you’ve pushed that little lever on your brakes to get them apart, now push it back so your brakes are closer together.  They should not be touching the rim of your wheels (or you won’t be going anywhere very fast).  If they are touching the rims (which sometimes happens if your brakes get bumped in transit), pull/push the brakes away from the rim.  They should rotate around a central axis.

To get the front wheel in

Just pop the wheel in, and wind up the skewer.  Do the lever up, and then adjust your brakes as per your back wheel.

If you have a computer, check that it works.  If it doesn’t, you’ve probably got your front wheel on backwards (the magnet of your bike computer which will be on a spoke of the wheel), should be closest to the sensor (which will be on your front fork – the bit of the bike frame holding the wheels on).  If it’s too far away, then the sensor doesn’t trigger when the magnet goes around.  No dramas, just take off your front wheel and reverse it.

Finally

Turn your bike over (wheel side down), and undo each wheel in turn, and then do it back up.  The weight of the bike just helps to make sure that you’ve got the skewer firmly in the right place.  Go for a little test ride, making sure that your gears shift and your brakes work.  You don’t want to find out that a brake pad has fallen off or something as you’re screaming down a hill at 60kms an hour.

Anyhow, give this a go at home sometime, before you have to do it in anger.  It can be a bit fiddly sometimes, and a bit dirty (if you have to take your rear wheel off), but it’s a really useful thing to be able to do.

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