How to get your bike ready for spring

Before you hit the road, make sure your bike is running smooth for the season

How to get your bike ready for spring

Source: Best Health magazine, March/April 2013; Image: Thinkstock

Unless you’re an all-weather cyclist, it’s time to get your bike out of storage. We spoke to Scott Doel, general manager of Gears Bike Shop in Mississauga, Ont., for tips on getting your wheels road-ready.

Ideally, says Doel, you would have stored your bike away from moisture and off the ground. ‘The most common problems after going unused all winter tend to be rust, cracked or dried-out tires and tubes, or damage from pests,’ he says.

Doel recommends that you take your bike to a local shop for the tuneup. ‘The adjustments are minor and it’s too easy to over-adjust, so I don’t suggest doing it on your own.’ Depending on the shop, a spring bike tuneup will usually cost between $50 and $80, he says.

But first, there are a few things you can check. After cleaning your bike with a sponge and mild soap in warm water and drying it off, look for any visible damage or rust. If you notice rust on the cables or chain, you’ll need to replace the part, says Doel. ‘The chain is usually the first thing that rusts,’ he says. Also check:

Brakes

‘Pull the brake lever and make sure there’s stopping power,’ says Doel. ‘If you pull the brake lever and it stops too close to the handlebar, it will need to be adjusted.’

Brake pads

‘Make sure they haven’t dried out or worn down.’

Tires

Pump tires up, making sure they stay inflated and have good pressure.

Bolts

‘You can check the tension, but only lightly’and don’t over-tighten!’

Handlebars

Have a look at the grips and tape to see if they are worn or tattered; if so, replace them. ‘The handlebars are one of the main points on the bike that skin comes into direct contact with. New grips or handlebar tape will clean up the look,’ says Doel.

To keep your bike in top shape throughout spring and summer, Doel advises lubricating the chain every 100 kilometres of riding. ‘And put air in the tires every single time you ride.’

This article was originally titled "Hit the road!" in the March/April 2013 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!

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