Step 1: Pressure
Always check the pressure is correct in your tyres. Pressure ratings can be found on the sidewall of your tyres.You should be checking your tyre pressures at least once a week if you ride regularly. If you ride occasionally, check your pressures before you ride. This will save energy as underinflated tyres will slow you down and damage your rims.
Step 2: Lubrication
Lubricating your chain with a good bike oil will prevent your chain from rusting and collecting dirt, if a chain is not lubricated regularly you will find your gears do not shift as smooth as they should do.
Step 3: Cleaning
Cleaning your bike will help prevent dirt and mud getting in the components and stopping them working. When cleaning your bike it is not advised to use a jet wash as spraying water directly at the bike may push out the grease from the bearings in your wheels, headset and bottom bracket resulting in costly damage. There are many specific bike products out on the market to clean your bike with safely.
Step 4: Maintenance
Maintaining your bicycle is key to prolonging its life and as a general rule if you are using your bike on a regular basis like commuting or racing you should get your bike serviced every six months, if you are using your bike occasionally like going to the shops or for a weekend forest ride with the family you should get your bike serviced at least once a year. Regular maintenance will still be required throughout the year if issues arise.
Step 5: Storage
A big contributor to a bicycle becoming damaged are the elements, when rain gets inside your cables and on your chain they will begin to rust, this will make cycling your bike difficult and will cost money. Make sure you store your bike away from the elements ideally under a cycle cover or in a dry place like a shed or your home.