Sunday, April 28, 2013

First ride of Spring. So what does MY bike look like?

I've been spewing out advice for many years now about proper bike maintenance and every Spring I remind you folks about going over your ride before heading out into the joyous bliss of the first bike ride of the season. I figured it would be fun to show you what mine looked like this morning after a Winter spent in the shed.

I've written before about proper storage for your bike to survive the lay over period during the Winter. Do I follow my own advice? Well, not this year. I was basically busy and lazy and tossed everything in the shed real fast before the first big storm hit last Fall. So I was kind of worried on what I would have to deal with when I took her out of the shed this morning to go enjoy a nice warm and dry sunny day.

Overall it wasn't that bad. First order of business was to check tire pressure and as you can see it wasn't a bad idea. A 40 psi difference between what it was and what it should be is huge. My tires are rated for 65 psi but I keep them at 60 for a bit more comfort. 20 psi would have been murder on my inactive Winter legs. I was happy to find that despite the fact that the bike was not hung up on the ceiling,  I had no flat spots on my tires.

That's not good!
Next was cables and brakes. I found a dry front brake cable which is showing some rust. It will have to be replaced since it is the main brake on this bike. The rear one is more of a "slow me down" type of job.

Dry and rusted, it will have to be replaced
Chain and gears were fine since they were properly lubed late last season. However I did make one mistake. I forgot to upshift before storage in order to take tension off the cable and the derailleur spring. The old derailleur didn't like that too much and the now fatigued spring prevents the derailleur to bring the chain down to the last gear. It will fix itself over time or I'll get off my lazy butt and replace it.

Will be trying some wishful thinking before actual replacement.
The first ride was sweet and I was surprised to feel my legs in decent shape despite the fact that I almost didn't ride last year. I'm happy I went out there and enjoyed myself today. Now to go and find that upcoming folder project in the mess that is my shed!

Somewhere in there hides a great folder bike project.

Don't forget to check out the how-to articles.

Until next week, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

2013 riding season starts, be careful out there!

Well folks another riding season starts for those of us living in the snow belt. For those of you living in warm weather all year, you can keep on reading, laugh or thank your lucky stars you can ride all year.

As most of you know starting the riding season, this means taking at least a glance at your faithful ride before taking it out the first time. Pumping the tires up to proper pressure should be your first task on the list. Your out of shape legs will remind you pretty quick that low pressure tires slow you down for the effort you are putting in. Brakes, cables and lubricating the chain is next while also making sure that everything is there and working properly.

Remember that most drivers are not used to seeing too many of us for the last couple of months and they are driving a lot faster since conditions are good. Collisions happen mostly during dry and clement weather. Drivers are usually careful and very attentive in blinding blizzards. Nothing says "carefree" like dry pavement and a blue sky, which usually results with you becoming invisible to them on your bike.

My last but very important piece of advice is the roads and pathways you'll be riding on. Loose gravel and other possible problems caused by infrastructures not yet maintained could cause you harm. Your front wheel being swallowed up by a huge pothole could ruin not only your day, but your entire season. So keep your eyes open and be careful out there.

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)