Spring is right around the corner! The days are getting longer and road racing season is upon us. Some brave souls have been riding through the winter, but let’s face it: a lot of us were doing other activities during the winter and our bikes are being used as coat racks.
So make sure you and your bike are ready:
1. Check Your Chain
With dozens of moving parts, your chain is susceptible to corrosion if left unmaintained. Some rust can be wiped off, but if your links have seized or skip when you pedal, you’ll likely need a new chain. In that case, look for one that matches your brand of drivetrain and number of gears. Going forward, make sure to keep your chain properly lubed and running smoothly.
2. Replace Cables and Housing
If your bike won’t change gears smoothly, don’t immediately blame your shifters or derailleurs. It could be your cables or the tubing they’re housed in. Over time the lines can stretch, corrode, or become coated in grime. We recommend investing in high-quality pre-lubed cables, which have a longer life span and operate more smoothly than basic options.
3. Wrap Your Handlebar
Installing fresh bar tape is a quick way to breathe new life into your bike. It’s relatively easy to do and economical–and your hands will thank you on long, early-season rides. Remember that cork tapes and light colors get soiled faster than synthetic products. Here’s a guide to wrapping your bars.
Pro Bike-Washing Tip
How to save a buck: Hub and bottom-bracket bearings can seize when left unmaintained over the winter, but they don’t always need to be replaced. Sometimes a short ride will be enough to break them in again. If they don’t spin freely after a few minutes, it’s time for new ones. As with a lot of bike issues, an ounce of prevention goes a long way. Clean your bike regularly and avoid complications down the road.
If your bike is beyond repair or you’re looking for something new, consider one of our do-anything bikes. The Trace and Calico are versatile bikes that are perfect for paved or unpaved bike paths, as well as getting around town. When that first short-sleeve day hits, make sure you’re out on a bike to enjoy it!
Calico Sport: a versatile women’s bike.
Trace: a go-anywhere bike.
Now that your bike is ready, it’s time to ride. If you’ve been keeping up your fitness on an indoor trainer or a winter activity like XC skiing, you’ve got a head start. Many of us are going to have to take it more slowly, ramping up our exertion instead of jumping right in. But, with a little preparation you’ll be able to get back into the swing of things pretty easily. Remember to start slowly and listen to your body. Here’s a training plan that’ll help keep you from injury or discouragement.
Winter’s great, but we have to admit we’re very excited for spring. See you out there!