Most maintenance problems are related to the bike being dirty. Bike patrol officers should be responsible for preventative maintenance. This includes pre-ride inspections, cleaning the chain, fixing flats and washing the bike as needed. The following list is the basic items needed for preventative maintenance and tools to make repairs in the field so that you can get back home:
- Chain cleaner
- Degreaser or chain cleaning fluid
- Chain lube
- Bike washing supplies
- Toothbrush or chain cleaning brush
- Dawn dishwashing detergent
- Clean rags
- Tire levers and patch kits for fixing flats
- Chain tool to fix a broken chain
- Hex wrench
- Multi-tool (a multi-tool can combine tire levers, a chain tool and a hex wrench into one tool) Some departments train a couple of bike officers as bike mechanics who can handle most of the repairs.
Other departments will contract with a bike shop. It is more cost effective for a larger, full time unit to train officers as mechanics, provide the tools and keep an inventory of parts than to contract with a shop. A bike officer/mechanic can make immediate repairs. This allows the officer to get back on the street with little down time. Staffing hours are not lost getting the bike to the shop and waiting for the repair (which could be 1 hour to several days.) There are several bicycle maintenance schools available. Some can be found locally through your bike shop and there are a couple of nationally know schools (United Bicycle Institute and Barnett Bicycle Institute.) LEBA is currently developing a maintenance course designed for the bike patrol officer. Park Tools, the industry leader in bicycle maintenance tools, has a very comprehensive list of tools on their website at www.parktools.com.