Is Your Bike Road-Ready?
If your bike has been stuck in storage all winter, a little bike maintenance is important before you hit the road. Whether it’s on a remote road in the country or on a busy suburban street, safety is priority #1.
Adjust the Seat
While obvious for children who may have grown, making sure the seat is at the appropriate height is always a good idea. You may not be taller but the seat may have slipped while in storage.
Check Tire Pressure
Even if you put your bike away last fall in perfect condition, the tire pressure has probably lowered. Grab your pump or take a quick trip to the local gas station to ensure optimal tire pressure before you ride.
Check the Wheels
Specifically, the spokes! Wheel spokes keep your wheel straight, so making sure they are nice and tight is important. Use a spoke wrench to tighten at the base and don’t over tighten. Need help? Make an appointment with your local bike shop.
Test the Brakes and Brake Pads
Squeeze brake levers and make sure they engage on both sides of the brake pads. The entire length of the brake pad should press against the rim when activated, and they should not wiggle or be loose. It’s important to replace worn brake pads immediately and adjust the cable if they’re too far from the rim.
Check the Chain
Check your bicycle chain tension by pressing your fingers against the top chain, it should not move more than 1/4 to 1/2-inch. If it’s loose it can fall off while riding. If it’s too tight it can damage your gears. Again, your local bike shop can help with this.
Apply Dry Lube
According to the experts at Popular Mechanics, you may need to use a dry lubricant on the rear cog (set of gears), chain ring (front gears), chain, and all moving parts of the crankset in the spring. Avoid using WD-40 and standard 3-in-1 oil as they will attract dirt which is something you don’t want on these moving parts.
Interesting Note: Do you know about CAA Bike Assist? Yes, there’s a roadside assistance program for your bicycle, and it’s available in most cities across Canada. If you run into a problem that can’t be fixed on the spot, CAA will transport you and your bicycle to where you need to go!
Photo by Alesia Kazantceva on Unsplash