It will take some time for you and your bike to get over that initial awkward stage, just like any new relationship. Prepare for a few mishaps early on, but also learn how to fix them or avoid them entirely.
Expect a Break-in Period
Don't ignore a change in the way your bike performs. Take it to a mechanic. A new bike's components typically break in over the course of the first few rides, which can affect their performance. The shifting may lose precision; the brakes might rub or feel loose, and you may notice new sounds like squeaks or rattles.
Take your new bike to a bike shop as soon as possible if this happens! When it is working properly, the bike will work more efficiently and will be more fun to ride. Plus, you'll prevent bigger problems from arising later. If you continue to ride on components that are out of adjustment, you could damage parts that are expensive to repair.
Be Prepared for Common Problems
You will experience mechanical issues with any bike, even if you're just riding it on a trainer!
Flat tire: Now that you’re a cyclist, it’s good to know how to address this inevitable mechanical issue. Use our handy tutorial to learn how to fix a flat: taking off the wheel, removing the tube, finding the reason for the flat, patching or replacing the tube, and reinstalling the wheel. It might take a little longer than you expect (especially if you're new to it), but practice will make it second nature.
Derailed chain: If you go over a big enough bump or maybe just lay your bike down wrong, your chain might slip free from the chainring. It's an easy fix, but a dirty one. Reinstall the chain into the grooved teeth of the chainring by grasping it, pulling it upward, and reinserting it. Place a link on the cog tooth and turn the pedals forward. When your chain comes off a few times in a row, however, you likely have some larger issues. (Flipping the bike over will also prevent it from rolling away, and shifting to the lowest gear will allow you to try to put the chain back on the largest chainring.) Take it to a bike shop and let the experts examine it.
Broken chain: A broken chain is a more complex repair issue that likely will require a higher level of bike maintenance know-how and specialized tools. Find out how to change or repair a bike chain if you're up for the challenge. If you don't want to learn how to do this (no judgement! ), take it to a bike shop.