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Any bike that is used will need to be maintained.You should always take bikes to a reputable dealer for regular servicing. But there are a few things that can be done as simple daily maintenance.
Start with a safe bike: make sure that it is adjusted properly when you first buy it. It should come with an owner's manual, and there are lots of good books on bike maintenance – look in your local library or bookshop or on the internet.
Bike maintenance need not be a chore. The time could be used as an opportunity to learn some new skills with your children. The more they can help, the more they will get from their cycling.
Lights and reflectors: make sure they are clean and bright
Tyres: make sure they are pumped up to the right pressure
Check for loose parts: is anything loose that shouldn't be?