With spring around the corner, you may want to think about ensuring that your bike is in tip top condition for the final few months of training before the ride takes place. There are a number of essential but simple steps that will help prepare your bike for some serious mileage on the road – read on below to find our comprehensive checklist on how you to give your bike a little spring clean! And if your bike’s been out the shed for a while now, then these steps are still handy nonetheless.
Clean your bike
This one is pretty straight forward really – giving your bike a good clean can make determining any other issues with your bike much easier. Simply apply some de-greaser to the chain, chain rings, jockey wheels and the rear derailleur, as well as any gunk that has collated on the cassette. To get rid of any braking surfaces on your rims, use a wet rag, especially in those nooks and crannies around the brakes, cables and bottom bracket.
Check for chain wear
Before you do anything else, always check the chain length with a chain-checker tool and be sure to replace if it’s worn out. Riding too long with a stretched chain can risk wearing out your chain rings and cassette, and that will mean you’ll have to replace these sooner than you should need to. So to avoid further bother, why not get your own chain tool if you haven’t already, and get in the habit of checking chain wear.
Check your brakes
It’s safe to say that everyone knows the repercussions of faulty brakes, so it’s vital that these are functioning well! Firstly, inspect the brake pads at their ware indicator lines and if they’re getting thin, replace the pads. Secondly, pull down on the brake levers to make sure the pads are engaging properly on the braking surface of the rim. If it requires a lot of force and effort to engage the pads, grab an Allen key and loosen the cable’s pinch bolt, then pull the cable through a bit further to tighten them up. Finally, just give your wheel a little spin to ensure the brake pads aren’t rubbing at all.
Check the condition of your wheels
Make sure your wheels are true, and tighten any loose spokes – simply spin your wheel to see if there are any visible wobbles or hops. Any irregularities can be fixed at a truing stand with a spoke wrench. Whilst the wheel is on the stand, just give the spokes a little squeeze to ensure they’re properly tensioned.
If some of this cycling language seems a little alien to you, click here to find out the basics of truing your wheels properly. Even the most advanced of cyclists will admit they find truing a heel intimidating! If it is too complex for you, there are plenty of bike specialists out there, so just head down to your local bike shop.
Ensure your cables are in good condition
Inspect your brake and shift cables for fraying at the ends and replace the cables if you find any. If there’re stretched, tighten them – these adjustments can categorically improve your bikes shifting and braking performance. It may also be wise to consider lubing your cables with a couple of drops of chain lube to keep them sliding smoothly.
For a more in depth guide on how to change your gear cables, click here.
Check your pedals and bottom bracket
One of the last things to do before hopping on your bike is to make sure that your pedals and bottom bracket are rotating nice and smoothly. You can do this by removing the chain from the chain ring, and then rotate the crank and just have a feel of how both the pedals and bottom crank are rotating. There shouldn’t be any lateral movement or form of resistance. It’s a good idea to remove the pedals and the bottom bracket and lubricate them on a seasonal basis.
Check your shifting
A simple final step; go through all your gears and make sure the chain isn’t skipping. Make any last adjustments to the barrel adjuster and apply some lubricant to the chain. Again, if any of these steps seem unfamiliar or complex, there are plenty of online tutorials available that will guide you through.
Last but not least, don’t forget to pump up your tyres, then you’re all set to hit the roads. Enjoy!