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!
Til next time, ride safe and Godspeed.