Spring is nearly here, and it’s the perfect time to get your bike ready for a bike ride. Bike maintenance is an essential part of keeping it rolling this spring. So now that the weather is improving, and the longer days beckon you to venture out on your bike, but like many people, your bike has probably been in storage in your garage, shed or maybe even a spare bedroom!
Depending on where it has been stored will often affect its roadworthiness in the spring. Below are some of the checks that you should do to make sure the bike is ready for your first ride.
Spring Bike Maintenance
Get your tires checked
First, check the sidewalls of the tyres for any cracks in the rubber. Do this by holding up the rear of the bike and rotating the wheel. Use the valve as a reference so you know when you have done a complete revolution. Now do the opposite side of the tyre in the same way followed by the same for the front wheel. If you do have cracks in the rubber, then it is probably now time to invest in some new tyres.
Now rotate the wheels again but this time you should look at the surface which touches the road, now you are looking for slits or gashes in the rubber surface. If you have some then again probably time to replace the tyres.
Now check the sidewall for the recommended tyre pressure, it will saw something light 45-65PSI. Get a good pump with a pressure gauge and pump up the tyres to the correct pressure. Doing this before each ride will also reduce the number of punctures you get.
If you have a flat tire, then check out this handy post on how to fix a puncture.
Spring cleaning your bike’s components
First up is the bike chain. Rotate the pedals anti-clockwise and look at the chain to make sure there are no stiff links. If the chain looks really dirty then it might be useful to buy some chain degreaser to clean the chain. When clean, oil (Lube) the chain but wipe off excess oil from the chain.
Next up is the bottom bracket. This is the bit of the bike which goes through the frame at the bottom of the pedal arms (cranks). Lean across the bike and hold a crank in each hand, try and see if the cranks move side to side at all. Any slight movement means the bottom bracket which goes through the frame is starting to fail and hence needs replacing.
Now check the brake pads or blocks for wear. With brake blocks make sure they have tread and as not warn or a curved shape. If they are they need replacing. With disc brakes you will need to remove the wheels, then the small clip that holds the pads into the calliper and slide the pads out, check for wear and replace if required.
Checking the handlebars
Lift up the front of the bike by the handlebars and turn the handlebars left and then right. This should feel nice and smooth. If it feels gritty or lumpy then the headset needs greasing or even replacing.
Check for loose parts
Now move from the back of the bike to the front, making sure any accessories you have fitted on the bike are still nice and tight. If loose tighten them up.
If you have any doubts it is always recommended to have your bike serviced once per year by a local bike shop.
Adjust the seat height, handlebars, and pedals
As your bike has been in storage, it is best to check that no adjustments are needed. This is especially needed for children’s bikes (they never stop growing do they?!).
Clean the bike up
Now you cant head out on the road on a mucky bike, can you? Especially after giving your bike a well needed health check. You can buy special bike cleaning products like Muc Off which are bike safe and will not damage your frame and bike components.
Now you have no excuse to not head out on your bike this Spring. Remember to stick to your local authorities COVID restrictions regarding travelling/exercise.