Learn about your bike while you clean it… then goRide



Bike cleaning kit (brush, toothbrush, cloth, eco friendly detergent), bucket, water, bike tools (pump, allen key, adjustable wrench, screwdriver).  Find out more about cleaning kits here and what’s in a basic bike tool kit here.

Work your way through these questions while you are cleaning your bike.  Lather up, rinse and play.  The idea is to take your time and really look at your bike, touch it, count things on it, work out where things go and how they work.  Think about what damages your bike and how you could protect it from that damage.  Most of all make some bubbles, get wet and have fun.

What to do first…turn your bike upside down.



  1. What is a tyre made of?
  2. What is tread?
  3. What size tyre does your bike have?
  4. What can damage a tyre?


  1. How many spokes do you have in your front wheel?
  2. What is the job of your spokes?
  3. Where is the spoke nipple and should it be tight?
  4. What can damage your spokes?


  1. What do the cables on your bike do?
  2. Where do your cables start and finish?
  3. What can damage your cables?


  1. Draw the shape of a chain link with bubbles on the ground…
  2. How many gears do you have on your bike?
  3. What does this look like?  Point to the circles (chain cogs/cassette) you have at the front and the back…
  4. What can damage your chain?


These parts of your bike are best viewed right way up so if your bike was upside down turn it back over.

  1. How would you change your seat height?
  2. What damages your seat/grips/pedals?



  1. Rubber with a fabric casing on the inside
  2. The knobbly, bumpy bits on your tyre that give you traction or grip with the ground.
  3. Your bikes tyre or wheel size is written on the sidewall.  Kids bikes will have 12, 16, 20, 24 moving into 26, 27.5 or 29 as an adult.
  4. Skidding on concrete is the worst thing for wearing down your tread.  Sun damages rubber.  Over inflating your tyre stretches and weakens it.


  1. 28, 32 or 36 spokes in a wheel.  Tandems can have more and a BMX wheel can have up to 48
  2. To hold the shape of your wheel
  3. Where the spoke and the wheel rim meet.  Yes it should be tight.  Nipples naturally loosen over time with normal riding
  4. Hitting obstacles with your wheel at speed e.g. the curb, a tree root.  Direct impacts on the wheel e.g. something falling onto your wheel when your bike is left lying on the ground, kicking your wheel if you’re angry


  1. Make the brakes work and change gears
  2. Cables start on the handlebars at the brake and gear levers and finish at the brake pads/discs and the gear derailleurs
  3. Getting caught on things usually in a bike stand or moving it past things.  Over time cables will stretch and need to be tightened to work correctly.


  1. A chain link looks like two circles joinned together.  The middle of each circle will have a pin through it.  To break a chain link you need a special tool.
  2. Count your gears by the number of sprockets(circles) at the front and back (multiply together and you have your gear number)
  3. One circle for each sprocket.  You will have less at the front, more at the back.  Multiple sprockets make up a cog set or cluster (there are two types freewheel and cassette)
  4. Grit/dirt getting inside the chain, lots of pressure will cause it to snap – going up a hill in the wrong gear.  A chain will naturally wear over time and sprocket teeth will wear down this causes the chain to “slip”.

Points of contact

  1. Using your quick release or loosening your seat tube bolt with an allen key or an adjustable wrench.
  2. Seats, pedals and grips all stick out and can get torn or damaged easily with rough treatment e.g throwing your bike, letting it fall over.  Your seat and grips will deteriorate with exposure to the sun.  Your grips deteriorate if sweat is left on them.


How many screws can you find on your bike that look like this?  bike tools allen key screws steam bike goRideCount them.


A race idea:

Let the air out of your tyres – front and back.  Count down from 3, 2, 1, go….

Give the kids one minute to pump up their tyres.  Time’s up.  STOP.  Judge who has done the best job of pumping up their tyres in the time.

(Link to Pumping Up Your Bike Tyres – A video)


Don’t be shy, if you don’t understand something please ask us a question in the comments box or use our contact form.

Thanks for reading. Used together our stories and resources support you to achieve and develop as a rider.

goRide is a shared journey, so we would like you to assist in guiding it along the way. Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback are welcome. Thank you for being a part of the goRide way.