Now warmer weather is finally here, it’s the perfect time to dust off your bicycle and get your legs moving. With most people cycling for leisure purposes, you might already have a long list of places to visit, from local beauty spots to adventures further afield. But first things first: preparing your bike for action.
Knowing your bike is up to scratch will give you greater confidence in the saddle. You’ll improve your overall riding experience and reduce the risk of costly, time-consuming breakdowns. So what are the best ways to knock your bike into shape?
With summer rapidly approaching, here are some of the key elements that will get you road ready.
Give it a good clean
Whether you’ve been diving down dirt tracks or wet roads, dirt will naturally build up on your bike over time. Leaving it there can lead to your bike rusting, so make sure to give it a good scrub regularly.
Start by rinsing away any loose dirt before deploying a more heavy-duty cleaning agent for the rest. Use a tough sponge, plenty of warm water, and rinse and repeat.
Check your tyres and wheels
Your tyres are crucial to your stability and efficiency, so check their pressure and pump them up if they’ve been stored away deflating for months. Make sure to check for any cracks or splits in the side walls too.
Next, check your wheels and, if necessary, straighten any spokes that have gone askew.
Lubricate the drivetrain
Your drivetrain is similarly integral, using various components to turn your pedalling into forward movement. Cleaning and lubricating it is vital for enjoying a smooth ride.
Pay attention to the cranks, chain, cogs and more, using a toothbrush to get into the nooks and crannies. Next, apply a quality lubricant to help everything run smoothly.
Check your brakes
It’s not all about forward motion of course; your brakes and cables are vital for slowing and stopping when you need to.
Test them by spinning your wheels off the ground, pulling the front and back brakes separately, and observing whether they lock right away. Check your cables for any wear or fraying too.
Test the gears
Checking your gears is as simple as going for a ride and cycling through them to make sure they shift smoothly. Hopefully they will; if they don’t, you could need to replace the gear cables, cassette or chainrings, or derailleurs. If in doubt, speak to a professional!
Prepare your accessories
Finally, prepare your accessories for safety and comfort. A good light and visibility gear is essential if you’re cycling at night, while a water bottle and repair kit will come in handy on long rides.
Don’t forget a sturdy lock either; bike thefts remain in the tens of thousands every year.
With these elements taken care of, all that’s left is to get out there!