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Prep Your Bike for Spring in 5 Easy Steps

Perhaps your bike spent most of the winter beneath a few boxes in the garage. If it doesn’t look entirely ready to hit the road, there’s no need to panic: you probably don’t need to buy a new one. With a complete clean-up, a tire check, and a bit of tweaking with the seat, brakes and gears, you can have it ready for adventure. Here are some tips for giving your bike the love it deserves before cycling season gets under way—and you’ll prolong its lifespan, too!

Clean Your Bike

Over the past few months, your bike may have collected dust from being poorly covered, and that dust can cause problems. A diligent spring cleaning is in order. With a soft cloth, wipe off the trays, sprockets, cranks and derailleur gears. Once the dirt has been taken off the chain, use a degreaser, let it dry, and then grease it up once more. As for the rest of the bike, it couldn’t be simpler: a soft cleaner, a sponge, and a little water will do the trick. Once the suds have been cleared away, don’t forget to wipe down the bike with a dry cloth to avoid rust. A degreaser, a lubricant, and a cleaner—you’ll find bike-friendly versions of all these things in a specialty shop.

Check the Tires

Worn-down tires are more fragile, making them more likely to cause accidents. To keep safe, inspect closely for these things.

  • Torn or split tire

    Even if it’s a slight tear, the tire should be changed before you hit the road, as it will have become very fragile and the risk of bursting will be high.

  • Visible tread

    The tread is easy to recognize because it’s usually a different colour than the tire. This second layer is not resistant enough to roll in direct contact with the ground. If you see it coming through, it’s time to change your tire.

  • Dry tires

    If you’ve stored your bike in the shed or the yard, the tires may have become too dry. Check if the sides have become translucent and frayed. In this case, it’s recommended that the tires be changed.

  • The tires are in good shape

    Great news! Simply check the tire pressure with a nanometer and fill up them up with air. The pressure is different from one bike to another: the adequate pressure for your bike should be written on the side of the tire.

Check the Seat

After a few months without use, it’s important to ensure that your seat is securely adjusted. Its position on your bike will make all the difference not only in comfort, but also when it comes to fatigue and safety. A seat that’s too high or too low can seriously impact the way you cycle and impair your field of vision on the road.

There are three measurements to take into account when checking your seat for comfort and safety:

  • The height of the seat

    To find the ideal height, climb onto your bike and put your foot on the pedal when the pedal is at its lowest. Your leg should be fairly extended without being locked: too extended, and you won’t have enough power to cycle; too bent, and you’ll tire quickly.

  • The position of the seat on an x axis

    You’ll need a friend for this step, as you will have to have both feet on the pedals. With a measuring stick, attempt to align your knee perfectly with the end of the tip of the pedal, taking care to move the seat back and forth until you have achieved the perfect position.

  • The seat’s incline

    There is no strict rule when it comes to the angle of your seat. Some people prefer to have a perfectly horizontal seat, while others prefer a slight tilt. It’s up to you to test it and make the necessary adjustments.

Check the Brakes

It’s no news that a bicycle that doesn’t brake properly is incredibly dangerous. But we all get lazy sometimes when it comes to precaution. Test out your brakes by riding slowly on a quiet street for a few minutes and braking regularly. If your brakes don’t work properly, bring your bike directly to the store. Brake systems can be difficult to repair and adjust, and the fallout from faulty brakes can be very serious.

Check the Gears

A simple visual inspection should suffice when it comes to taking stock of the state of your gears. You should consult a specialist if you see any of these symptoms:

  • The gear teeth are rounded, twisted or rusty
  • The sprockets on the back wheel appear worn down
  • The gearshifts no longer change the gears

Although it can be tempting to take your bike out as fast as possible without looking it over, getting into the habit of performing regular maintenance on it can make all the difference. A check-up at a Sports Experts once a year is a great habit to get into. You’ll ride it for longer and you’ll cycle safely.

Happy cycling season!