As winter comes to an end, the prospect of going on summer holidays draws closer. Everyone is itching to get back in shape. The nights get lighter and the days get warmer so we are all keen to spend more time outdoors. Our bikes and jogging trainers are out and we are signing up to fitness challenges.
But before hitting the roads, make sure your wheels are safe to use. If you stored your bike indoors you may get away with a basic DIY bike check. However, if your wheels spent the winter outside, it may be worth investing in a full-blown tune-up at the local bike shop.
Follow these simple DIY bike check steps to make sure your ride is up-to speed before getting back in the saddle.
Brake Pads: Spin both wheels and check the tyre rims don’t rub on the brake pads. Check if the brake pads make full contact with the rim; they shouldn’t touch the tyre. Replace brake pads when you notice they have less than a quarter-inch of rubber left.
Brake Levers: Give each brake lever a good squeeze – there should be more than an inch of space between the brake lever and the handlebar. Brakes need to be tightened if the brake levers are touching grips. After releasing the levers, both sides of the brake should return equally. If one side of the brake rubs against the rim, it means the brakes need to be adjusted.
Check to see how badly your tyres are worn. Make sure the sides are not fraying, and that there are no slits or holes in them. If your tires appear worn or worse bald, replacement is probably necessary.
Tyres should feel rock-hard; squeeze them to assess air volume. Pump and gauge to inflate tyres to their recommended pressure (the number that you see next to “PSI” on the side of the tyre) if they feel too squishy.
Check the chain to see if it’s loose or sagging. Hit the bike shop if it does – you probably need a new chain!
Once every five to ten bike rides, lubricate the chain. First clean the chain with a rag, and then apply a lube that contains Teflon.
You can test whether or not the lights are working yourself. Always carry some spare batteries with you in case they run out.
If you don’t feel confident enough to carry maintenance checks yourself, go to your local cycle shop. Last but not least, give your bike a good spring clean. A well maintained bike makes for a happy cyclist!