Can someone help me get started maintaining my bicycle?
Lets see, I know the following terminology, crank, frame, stem, fork, rims, tires, cranks, derailers, brakes and handlesbars. I can also put on the front quick release rim, the back one I'm not so sure about, because I worry about bending the derailer and so on. Anyways, I just threw down on a new bicycle, and want to maintain it, yet I'm not sure what I should be doing after each ride, rain or shine. I also don't know the "safe" way to take the rear rim on and off. Should you have to "pull" the derailers out of the way when removing the chain and so on? The rear derailer is pretty pricey so I don't want to mess it up. Any and all information or resources I can use to get me started would be much appreciated. I'm not looking to become an expert and do my own spokes, trueing, and so on, but I want to know how to maintain my bicycle and keep it in tip top shape.
Yes, the RD is expensive, but it isn't that that fragile. You can move it if need be. It has springs and is designed to move. I've even dropped my bike on that side and its fine and you do need to move it a bit to get your rear wheel off (the combination of rim, hub and spokes is "wheel")
If you have rim brakes (not disc) I would suggest wiping off the rim and the pad after every ride or at least once a week to optimize braking power.
You should also clean and lube your chain once a while. Do a search in bikeforums for that.
As for everything else, go here: http://parktool.com/repair/
It has info on how to work on almost everything on your bike, and if you float over the diagram, it pretty much gives you their correct terminology.
Thanks for the info! I'll be sure to do that and check the site. Much appreciated.