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Monday, March 19, 2007

SPRINGTIME BICYCLE CHECKLIST


Well with spring around the corner, many of you are aching to get that favorite ride of yours out of the shed or basement and on to the pavement. Before you do so, there are a few things you should check out on your bike before you head out into cycling bliss. Here's a checklist to guide you in that task:

  • CHECK TIRE PRESSURE AND INFLATE ACCORDINGLY Those rubber tubes are actually porous and you do lose some air during that storage period. Don't be alarmed about that, it's normal.
  • CHECK FOR TIRE WEAR Look if you have any bald spots or balloons in the sidewalls. If you don't need to replace the tires and you have a matched set, rotate them from front to back. They will wear evenly and last a lot longer.
  • CHECK BRAKE LEVER AND CALIPER ACTION Nothing sucks more than ruining your first ride with your brakes deciding not to show up for work at the first corner. Don't end up has a hood ornament on a Mack truck and make sure these work properly.
  • CHECK BRAKE PAD WEAR Pads do wear out after a while. If they look decent, do a rotation and they will last longer. In general the rear pads wear out faster than the front ones. It may be the other way around according to the way you ride.
  • CHECK ALL CABLES Derailleurs, brakes, check everything. If you see rust or a cable starting to fray, don't wait and replace immediatly. Especially the brake cables, remember that hood ornament thing?
  • CHECK YOUR CHAIN AND LUBE IT Back pedal and watch for any links that are jammed. Oil the chain with anything but regular engine oil or WD40(I use transmission fluid myself). If your chain has many thousands of miles and looks slack, replace it.
  • CHECK FOR ANYTHING LOOSE I mean everything. If it's screwed or bolted, it will come loose at some point. Check them all!
  • CLEAN YOUR BIKE Yes that's right, clean it. Dirt and filth actually helps a bike to deteriorate. Take some lemon furniture polish and clean it nice. Your bike will thank you for it and you'll be looking good. It smells nice too!
Last thing to remember when you go out there for the first time, is that the roads might not be up to snuff. Be careful since it takes a while before all the roads are cleaned of dirt, debris and pebbles. Don't forget the potholes and those brainless SUV drivers that are not used to seeing you on the road.

Til next time, ride safe and Godspeed.

Gerry

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this blog!

I noticed regarding the brake pads it says "In general the front pads wear out faster than the front ones."

Gerry Lauzon said...

Thanks for the heads up. :) I proof read twice and I still miss stuff. I'll balance this out right now: "in general the rear pads wear out faster than the rear ones." Now all is balanced within the force. Don't hesitate to tell me if I ever screw up again, it's very much appreciated.

Gerry

Forward said...

Swap f/tire with r/tire doesn't sounds a very good idea since f/tire traction is very important for controlling your bike. Sheldon Brown mentioned that when r/tire wears out, replace r/tire with the f/tire and then use a new one on the front.

Gerry Lauzon said...

Who am I to argue with Sheldon Brown? Of course if you have any kind of serious wear on any tire, it is better to replace it. I am talking about the kind of regular wear that you wouldn't notice. As for the rest, that's my opinion and I'm sticking with it.

Mechy said...

"Swap f/tire with r/tire doesn't sounds a very good idea since f/tire traction is very important for controlling your bike. Sheldon Brown mentioned that when r/tire wears out, replace r/tire with the f/tire and then use a new one on the front."


Depending on the tires you mmight want to just buy new tires because some of the are different front and rear treads and its usualy the front has a wider tread than the rear for more bite but if ur like me and have 4 stock tires then they are Bias ply type where you can put them in any direction and the tread is the same

Id ask ur local Mechanic or research it on the internet(thats this!!)


Thanks for listening,
Mechy

Gerald said...

Swapping tires should only be considered if the thread is good on both. The objective being longer tire life. If the thread is gone on any tire, by all means do replace them at once.

Gerry :)