Get Your Bike Prepared for Driving Season

by touring-bicycle

Are you already dreaming about your first bike journey of the following season—that first return to the saddle, with the legs stretching properly and the breeze towards your grinning face as you reacquaint your self with a favourite route?

We’re, too.

It’s simple to glamorize that preliminary outing, although, and overlook that these first rides could embrace some negatives: protesting squeaks from an unused bike, painful objections from too-quickly-tired quads and mid-ride frustration if you understand your bike bag incorporates solely an expired goo packet and never the spare tube you want.

Fortunately, it’s simple to keep away from these frustrations and extra critical issues with a little bit of correct preparation. Right here’s our fast information to getting your bike, your physique and your gear prepared for his or her best-ever inaugural journey of the season.


Prep your bike

How’s your trusty, two-wheeled steed taking care of months of hibernation? Chances are high it wants a tune-up, or no less than some contemporary air within the tires and a fast wipe down. Whether or not you’re a highway rider, gravel grinder, mountain biker otherwise you simply plan to get out for around-town commuting, work by the next guidelines earlier than you roll out.

FYI: Lots of the suggestions under are easy sufficient {that a} novice bike mechanic can undertake them, whereas others require a better stage of experience. In case you really feel uncomfortable performing the next duties, take your bike to an REI Bike Store or one other native bike store. A tune-up is nearly at all times cheaper, and positively much less painful, than a possible harm ensuing from a damaged bike.


Verify the wheels
Begin out by trying over the tires. Examine the tires’ sidewalls to verify there aren’t any cracks or slits. In case you discover both, exchange the tire instantly.
Correctly inflate your tires. Inflate your tires in order that the air strain is throughout the producer’s advised vary. Yow will discover the beneficial tire strain (PSI) on the sidewall of the tire. 
Verify the tires’ tread. Affirm they aren’t worn out. If a tire is worn out on a highway bike, it might look practically squared off. Mountain- and gravel bikers may see a smoothed-out middle tread in comparison with the bumpy sidewalls. Worn-out tires imply much less traction and end in extra frequent flat tires. Save your self the later trouble by as a substitute shopping for a brand new tire now.
Refresh your tubeless tires. Riders who run tubeless tires will doubtless must take away bits of previous, dried-up sealant and add contemporary bike tire sealant. In case you’re not operating tubeless but, the start of the season is an efficient time to make the change. (Comply with this tutorial on the best way to set up tubeless tires.)
Double-check your spokes. In case you do discover an issue, the spoke normally may be repaired with out changing the wheel.
Clear your bike

Wipe down the body with a washcloth, water and delicate dish cleaning soap to take away the mud, dust and dried sweat (for those who’ve been hammering on a coach all winter). Whereas doing this, preserve an eye fixed peeled for cracks, dings, dents or defects within the body. In case you see something regarding, take the bike to a store for an professional opinion.

Be taught extra: The right way to Clear a Bike

Clear the drivetrain

Run the chain towards a dry rag to take away grit, which might put on down components in your bike. (Professional tip: Keep away from utilizing a towel, which might depart fuzz behind in your chain.) For actually soiled chains, chances are you’ll need to clear the chain with a degreaser and even utterly take away it from the bike and use a series cleansing machine. Then re-lube the chain. (For extra detailed directions, learn The right way to Clear & Lube a Bike).

It’s additionally a good suggestion to verify final season’s epic rides didn’t put on out the chain. The chain’s size must be throughout the producer’s specs. You’ll be able to measure this utilizing a specialised device just like the Park Software Chain Put on Indicator, or else a easy ruler.

Tighten the bolts

Each under- and over-tightened bolts could trigger irritating squeaks and/or harmful driving situations. Use a torque wrench (versus an everyday wrench) to tighten all bolts to the producer’s specs. Don’t overlook harder-to-see bolts akin to these beneath your bike seat.

Verify your grips and saddle

Be sure each are in good situation, with out rips or put on spots. In case you’re a road- or gravel bicycle owner, be sure that the grip tape stays comfortable and has not come unraveled.

Check the entrance and tail lamps

Batteries in your entrance and tail lamps could have died over the winter. Re-charge them or exchange them to make sure you’re simple to see when on the highway.

The next upkeep duties will likely be best when completed on a motorbike stand. In case you don’t have a motorbike stand you may also dangle the bike from the nostril of the saddle on a low-hanging department or the sting of a workbench. Keep away from turning the bike over and balancing it on the saddle. Doing so can rip the saddle, scuff the shifters and tear the grips.

Verify the brakes

Are your entrance and rear brakes functioning correctly? With the bike hanging from a motorbike stand, spin the entrance wheel and clamp down on the entrance brake. Be sure the entrance wheel stops. Then use your hand to rotate the pedal so the again wheel spins; apply the rear brake and ensure the rear wheel stops. Hear/watch to verify the brake pads aren’t rubbing the wheel because it spins.

Riders with hydraulic brakes: Be sure to really feel a agency sensation if you apply the brakes. In case you as a substitute really feel a squishy sensation, you will have air bubbles within the brake line. In that case, your brakes have to be bled. You are able to do this your self with a brake bleed package. However for those who’re not assured in your means to do that restore, think about taking your bike to a store. Don’t take possibilities with brakes. They’re important to protected driving.

Verify the derailleur

Together with your bike nonetheless hanging from the bike stand, use one hand to show the pedal and the opposite hand to shift by all of the gears, up and down. As you shift, watch the chain to verify that it jumps easily up or right down to the following gear. If there’s a delay between jumps or for those who hear clicking coming from the chain because it tries and fails to catch the following gear, then the derailleur requires an adjustment. This may be completed with a multi-tool, or you may take your bike into a store.


Prep your physique

A person adding air to bike tires

One of the best ways to prep your physique for the spring biking season? Maintain driving all winter lengthy. (Listed here are some tips about Winter Biking). Almost all gyms and health facilities are outfitted with stationary bikes and should even provide indoor biking lessons.

In case you’d relatively sweat it out at dwelling, put money into a motorbike coach. Take a look at our helpful information for organising your rig, after which peruse the quite a few biking app choices to make sure you get in an amazing exercise whereas holding boredom at bay.

Health specialists additionally advocate including some energy coaching to the combination. In our overview The right way to Prepare for Biking, contributing professional Samantha Van Gorder suggests a routine of strolling lunges, single-leg deadlifts and goblet squats to spice up energy within the decrease physique. Pair these strikes with stamina-building and balance-improving workout routines akin to planks and bridges to work the higher physique and core.

Cardiovascular conditioning and adaptability coaching are additionally necessary items of the puzzle, particularly for those who plan to get out for multi-hour excursions this season. Our information to coaching for endurance biking provides month-by-month coaching plans, workout routines, and stretches to get you prepared.


Prep your gear

A cyclist takes a snack bar out of a bike bag

Lastly, don’t overlook to offer your gear an annual once-over as effectively.

Inventory your bike bag or jersey pockets

Specialists advocate that cyclists carry a handful of instruments with them on each journey to repair smaller road- and trailside points. Whether or not you pop them right into a seat pack, stow them in a biking hydration pack or just stuff them into your bike jersey pockets, be sure you carry alongside the next:

It’s additionally a good suggestion to have a quick-link readily available for chain repairs. On longer or more durable rides chances are you’ll need to carry a derailleur cable; spare derailleur hanger; brake pads; zip ties; and extra spare tubes.

Take a look at our information: On a regular basis Necessities to Maintain You Rolling on the Path.

Lastly, add some new snacks to your stash. Double-check the expiration dates on no matter yummies nonetheless stay in your pack or pockets from final 12 months. (Belief us on this one.).


Assess your attire

That final journey of the season was doubtless chilly, which most likely means you simply tossed the sweaty chamois within the laundry, threw the bike sneakers within the closet and raced to the steaming bathe. That’s comprehensible, nevertheless it’s all of the extra motive to take inventory of what you put on earlier than getting out this spring.

In case you’re driving clip-in sneakers, look at their cleats. They is perhaps beat up from pauses at cease lights or hike-a-bike sections of rocky path. Typically, that’s wonderful. However for those who discover that your cleats disengage from the pedal too simply, even after tightening, it’s a very good signal it’s time to exchange them. Damaged clasps could also be easy fixes in your native cobbler.

Pay further consideration to the chamois in your bike shorts. If the padded part has change into misshapen, with bunched up or thinner sections, or if the nylon is so worn out that it leaves little to the creativeness, it’s most likely time to put money into a brand new pair of shorts. Small rips and tears within the shorts (particularly mountain bike shorts) is perhaps mendable with nylon restore tape.  

Bike jerseys and jackets ought to final a number of seasons. Be sure the zippers nonetheless perform and that they nonetheless match appropriately. Your finest match will likely be no matter you are feeling most comfy carrying. In case you care about efficiency, go for a tighter, extra aerodynamic match.

Get extra suggestions: What to Put on Bicycling.


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Get Your Bike Prepared for Driving Season  
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