You survived winter. And now that it’s warm, you want to pull your beautiful bike out of storage and show it off to the world. But how do you know that it’s safe to ride?
Unless you’re a year-round cyclist, your bike has likely been in hibernation for months and needs a checkup. Now remember: safety first. If you’re unsure of any maintenance issue, please visit a professional bicycle mechanic. Otherwise, here are a few simple ways to get your bike ready for summer.
Clean and lubricate
This oft-overlooked activity extends the life of your machine. Get an old towel and toothbrush and scrub every component our bike with a biodegrable cleaner. Use as little water as possible to avoid rusting. Dry thoroughly. Buy some bicycle grease and rub down every spinning part of the vehicle. The pedals, cranks, headset, and seatpost are areas that endure the most stress. Lube fights the accumulation of grime and ensures that your bike’s parts work efficiently.
Check the air in the tires
Your tires will have deflated over the winter. Recommended air pressure levels are usually printed on the sidewalls of tires. Road bikes are usually between 90-120 PSI (our Classic and Premium Fixie Bikes take 90 PSI); hybrids and cruiser bikees are usually between 35-60 PSI. Try to fill your tires before every ride (a personal pump is invaluable). Check the tires for any scrapes, cuts, or punctures.
Inspect the break system
Brakes are the most important safety feature on any bicycle. When riding the bike, squeeze the break levers and make sure the vehicle resists sufficiently. Levers shouldn’t stop too close to the handlebar and must quickly snap back after you let go. Check the indicator line on your break pads. If they are worn past the line, you need to purchase new ones. Pads should contact the rims—not the tires—squarely.
Spin the wheels
Elevate your bike from the ground and spin its wheels, one at a time. They should spin with little resistance and not wobble. Listen for clinks and rattling—there should be none. Check the rims for dents, scrapes, and other imperfections. Make sure the spokes are straight and in place. As with every component of your bike, do not manipulate the structure of the wheels if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Check the drivetrain
The drivetrain is made of the bike’s cranks, chain, chainring, cassette, and derailleur. For non-fixie riders, place your bike on a stand, turn the cranks, and cycle through the gears to ensure that they’re shifting correctly. Inspect all components for damage. If movement is not smooth, you may need to take your bike to shop and have the derailleur adjusted. Chains are the most vulnerable part of the drivetrain and should be replaced every 3,000-6,000 km.