Operation Brokenspoke: Bicycle Maintenance for Boys

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Operation Brokenspoke: Overhaul and Maintain your Bicycle

MISSION BRIEF: Your mission is to clean, lubricate, inspect and optionally repair your two wheeler. Keeping your vehicles in good working order is very important to keep your noggin in one piece.

Parents Only
Hey Parents, this mission assumes that the kids have a bike, which may or may not be a reality. In the same vein this mission could be applied for any form of vehicle they may have, scooter, skateboard, big wheel, etc. The real goal of this mission is for them to think about their gear in a different manner. Maybe even have a little respect for the things they own, and the value of keeping it in good shape. This may be a far fetched ideal, but one I hope my kids take to more than they do currently.

EQUIPMENT: Bicycle or other vehicle, hose, bucket, car wash soap,sponge or wash mitt, towel, Simple Green cleaner, brush (tooth or other), rag, TriFlow lubricant, bike multitool, wrenches, resources we recommend available on our resources page referencing Mission 3 Operation Brokenspoke.

Bicycle Maintenance for Kids

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia


  1. Ready your washing station

    First prepare your work area and gather your mission equipment.  The driveway, side alley or most anywhere you can get away with spraying a hose will work.  Fill your bucket up about 3/4 full of water (about a gallon or two of water) and add a quick pour of Car Wash soap.  Adding the soap and spraying in a bit more water will cause it to foam up nicely.

  2. Wash your bike

    Give your vehicle a good spray down with the hose.  Now get out your wash mitt, dip it in the bucket and start cleaning your bike.  Stay away from the chain and sprockets at this point with your cleaning mitt to keep it from getting greasy, we’ll hit that next. Get all the nooks and crannies like under your seat and forks.  Once you’ve done that give it a good rinse, and then dry it off with your towel.

  3. Degrease your chain and sprockets

    Your chain is your driveline to freedom.  If it’s rusty or damaged you’ll be stuck.  Keeping it clean and lubricated is a simple step to keep it in tip top order.  Spray the chain and sprockets with Simple Green and use your brush to scrub the cleaner on all parts of your chain. A good way to do this is to turn your bike upside down so that it’s resting on it’s handlebars and seat. You can turn your pedals by hand and move the chain along to be sure you get all of it. Also be sure you degrease your sprockets, front and back. Once you’ve done that use your rag and give it a good wipe down to dry it out.

  4. Lubricate your chain and sprockets
    Now that you’ve degreased your chain you’ve got to get a lubricant on there so they it doesn’t rust. Using your brush or a paint brush work the Tri-Flo into all parts of the chain. Be sure not to get too much Tri-Flo on the ground. Make sure you get the top and bottom as well as the inner parts of the chain. Cycle the chain around several times by the pedals to be sure the sprockets get lubricated as well.
  5. Tighten loose bolts, general safety check
    Now that your rig is clean and lubed, it’s time to check it’s vital equipment. Check any nut, screw or bolt on it and make sure it’s tight. This is a good time for your adjustable wrench or your bike multi tool. If your chain is really loose and comes off frequently you can loosen the two nuts on either side of your rear tire and slide the whole thing back to tighten it up. Just not too tight. When you re-tighten the nuts be sure that wheel sits straight between the frame, give it a spin to be sure.
  6. Brake check
    This is a very important step. You need to be sure you can stop when you need to, as you know Mom really hates it when she has to take you to the emergency room. If you have a coaster brake (push back on the pedals to stop) they should just work. If they don’t you need some professional help, talk to your CO. If you have hand brakes check their operation, do they squeeze too far? There is an adjusting nut on the cables that you can unscrew to tighten the tension. Check your brake pads are they worn down? You’ll need to get some new ones, sounds like Operation Timbuktu again.
  7. Take a Test Ride
    If your bike operates well, your job is done, nice job! Otherwise troubleshoot it’s operation.
  8. Clean up your work area
    A vital step to avoid KP duty or push ups. Put everything back in it’s place as good or better as you found it.

This mission is yours to complete. Perform all of your steps and if you have issues with your bike operation or need additional repairs then and only then can you talk to your C.O. (parent) with your plan. The key part is for you to have developed a plan for action. Where you might need to go, who might need to look at it, etc..


Comments 4

    1. Post

      Yeah I got a message from the S.O. that perhaps in the next mission I should mention that household chores and responsibilities come first before the missions.

      1. Stephanie

        Oh, I totally don’t mind if he does his operations first! He’s having so much fun with them & is really excited to get right to it the last 2 mornings. He has to do chores for screen time, so I know it’ll get done! 😉

  1. Post

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