It's finally spring which means only one thing: taking your bike out for a ride!
I know how exciting can be to be back on the road but before you do, take a look at your bike to see if it's road-ready or needs a few tweaks. In today's blog, we'll look at how to prepare your bike for the first ride after a long pause( or winter ).
Depending on how you stored your bike for the winter and how carefully you clean it beforehand, your bike could be from clean to very dirty. I like to clean my bike frequently and especially before I put it in the garage for the winter but if you think it's dirty, you should clean it before thoroughly. This way it's easier to inspect it and see that everything is in order. Just use a bike-cleaning solution ( I prefer one that is biodegradable and good for the planet, even if it's a bit more expensive ) a sponge and water. Let it dry and then check the basics. In any case, clean the dust with a damp cloth. Call me clean-obsessed if you must but I just love a clean bike!
First thing first: check the wheels.
It is very common for the tires to deflate so if that's the case have a pump ready and inflate it ( also make sure it is not a flat tire, and if it is, change the tire! ).
Afterwards check the spokes, if there's any missing or broken you should replace it or take it to the shop to do it for you.
If the wheels are alright, time to check the chain.
If the chain seems used frail, you might need a new one. Even if it looks good, clean it with a Chain Cleaner ( one that is biodegradable, if possible) and then lube it with a good bike oil. Depending on where you live, you can use a dry lube or a wet lube( if it tends to rain more ).
Now check the brakes.
Of course, good breaks are mandatory for your bike to pass inspection so check the brake wires and the brake pads. Spin the wheel and then pull the break and check how fast the wheel stops spinning. If the pads are old and used, replace them.
Finally check gear shifting mechanism.
Of course, you want your gears to shift smoothly and hopefully with no noise. So try to check all speeds and see if the derailleur ( that's the name of the gear shifting thingies ) is working properly. If not, you can adjust it yourself if you know how or take it to the shop. It's not very hard though and worth trying to fix it yourself!
Now your bike is 99% ready to ride but there's on way to be 100% sure. You know it: take it out for a short ride. If anything feels off, come back and check it again. If you went through every step here it should run smoothly and remind you why you love riding the bike!
One last tip: if you want your bike to feel like new, getting a new bike saddle could be what you’re looking for. It's really a shortcut to that great "new bike" feel without actually replacing the bike. Here at Bikeroo, we pride in our selection of the most comfortable bike saddles at a great price so please check it out here and make yourself a nice gift for this spring.