The weather is warming up and soon the Colorado blue skies will shine bright. Now is the time to dust off the bike and get it ready for the season. Don’t worry we have you covered with a Top 10 list to prep your bike before your ride.
- A Good Washing –Simply hosing it down to remove dirt and mud is a great place to start
- Check the tire pressure –It’s likely you’ll need to add air because all bikes’ tires lose air pressure if they sit for a while. Stick to the tire manufacturer’s recommended pressure level. Invest in a quality air pump with a wide base to stand on, and large gauges that are easy to read.
- Adjust the seat – A loose seat can lead to trouble and an uncomfortable ride. Tighten and adjust your bike seat before using it for the first time.
- Check your chain – To check your bicycle chain tension, press your fingers against the top chain, it should not move more than 1/4 to 1/2-inch. If your chain is too loose, it will come off while riding — a dangerous situation to suddenly find yourself in. Over time chains can stretch, so replace your chain if needed. If the chain is too tight it can bind and damage your gears. Loosen the rear wheel nuts on each side to pull the rear wheel back to take slack out of the chain.
- Apply dry lube – Apply a dry lubricant to the rear cog (set of gears), chainring (front gears), chain and all moving parts of the crankset. Also, hit the front and rear wheel bearings on each side with a bit of lubricant. Avoid using WD-40 and standard 3-in-1 oil as it will attract dirt which is something you don’t want on these moving parts.
- Check your brake pads – When activated, the length of your brake pads should press against your rim. The brake pads should not wiggle or be loose. Replace worn brake pads immediately and adjust the cable if they are too far from the rim.
- Check your brake levers, cables and housing – Pull on your brake levers and make sure they engage both sides of the brake pads on each wheel. The brakes should not stick and should fully stop the wheel in motion. If the pull on the lever is too long, unscrew the barrel adjuster a few turns and test it.
- Check Spokes – Wheel spokes keep your wheels true (straight), so you should occasionally check to make sure they are all tight. It’s a good idea to check your spokes every few months, even if you don’t notice anything wrong.
- Check Safety Gear – Check the condition and batteries of your bicycle lights and reflectors. If you don’t have front and rear lights, it’s time to get some. Do everything you can to make yourself visible to drivers.
- Check your saddlebag – Check that your saddleback is not loose and tightly attached to your seat. Only bring the essentials such as a spare tube, take the tube out of the box and keep the elastic band wrapped around to keep it tightly together, tire levers, CO2 cartridge and inflator and/or hand pump and multi-tool. And of course, don’t forget a snack and a filled water bottle!
Want to feel super confident and know that your bike is ready, check out your local bike shop. They will have all the parts and equipment you need and are more than happy to make your bike road-ready.
Need a new bike route, or not sure where to ride? We have the solution for you. Check out the Bike Northwest Interactive Map to plan your next route!