Springtime is almost here!
Spring is the perfect time for outdoor fun and exercise. What better way to enjoy the great outdoors than with a bicycle. Before hitting the trails, or attaching it to your camper right away you might want to follow these simple steps:
Clean your bicycle
Your bike has probably been sitting in the garage for many months or even more! So it is a good idea to give it a good cleaning. This is easy to do, get an old tooth brush, some paper towels and some biodegradable cleaner like Simple Green. Clean everything: the frame, chain, chain rings, cassette, derailleurs, pedals, brakes, and seat. Make an effort to use as little water as possible.
Regarding safety, the brakes on a bike a the single most important item. You want to check and be sure they are working properly!
First check the break pads, just like in cars they wear down and might have to replaced. Replace the pads if they show excessive wear. Next, squeeze the brake lever on your handlebars and watch the brake pads. They should hit the rim at the same time. If you think the brakes are not stopping properly you should take it to your local bike shop.
Clean the wheels with rubbing alcohol and a clean, dry cloth. Inspect the rims for nicks, scrapes, dents or other damage. Next, elevate one end of the bike and spin the wheel. The wheel should move smoothly, without wobbling. Repeat for the other wheel. Replace your wheels if denting or other damage is excessive.
The drivetrain is important because it transfers the power generated by the rider’s legs to the rear wheel. This transfer of power provides the force that moves the bike.
You will need a partner or bike stand to assist with this part of the tune-up. Raise the rear wheel and spin as you did when checking the wheels. This time, shift through all the gears. Shifting should be smooth and easy to perform. Inspect the chain, chainrings, derailleur and cassette for damage (excessive wear, missing teeth, dents, scrapes, etc.). If shifting is not smooth, take your bike to a repair shop to adjust the derailleur.
Check your tires for splits, cracks or tears, especially along the sides (where the tire does not touch the ground). You will also want to check the tread for uneven or excessive wear. Tires are fairly inexpensive to replace, so if you are in doubt about keeping a tire, it is best to have it replaced.
Apply lubricant evenly to the chain while slowly rotating the pedals in a counterclockwise direction. Also, remember to lube moving parts on the derailleur, the pivot point on the brake levers and any exposed cable wire. Remember to wipe off any excess oil with a clean, dry rag, especially on the chain.
Now with your bike ready, you can go explore the best of nature! Do not forget the rules of the road and always wear protective gear.
Share with us all your outdoor adventures! We love to hear what all of you are up to!
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