Like the rest of us who live in a cold climate, if you don't ski, snowboard or skate, you've probably spent your winter as a couch potato eating Cheetos and watching reality TV till you want to scream! Probably put on a pound or two also. Well, SNAP OUT OF IT!!! Summer is approaching and it's time to get into shape with some heavy bike riding. It's also time to get your bike into shape too. It's probably been sitting dormant in the garage or cellar while you wallow in Doritos.
It's time to take your bike out and go over it piece by piece to get it into shape. First, look at your chain. When was the last time you replaced it? If it's been longer than a year it's time to get a new one. Heavy use has probably worn down the teeth and you don't want it slipping off when you're pedaling up hill. If you replace it before it stretches and slips off, you'll save in the long run by not having to replace a higher priced chain ring.
Check the bearing surfaces which includes the bottom bracket, hubs and headset. Each should turn easily with no problem. Make sure each cranking arm fits snugly and then hold on to the crank arm and move it back and forth. If you hear a clicking sound you need to adjust the bottom bracket.
Do the same thing with the hubs. Take the wheels off and spin the hub axles. Look for any looseness or binding. If there is any you will need to adjust it. After the adjustment has been made put the wheels back on the bicycle. Grab the front brake and push and pull the handle bars back and forth. They should be tight with no play. When the front end is lifted off the ground, the fork should turn easily. If it feels tight or rough you need to adjust it or replace it.
Now check out your cables and housing. Are the cables rust free? Is the housing cracked or kinked? If so you will need to replace the problem piece otherwise you will be shifting and braking very sluggishly.
Lastly you need to check out your brake pads. Do they look worn down and flat? Check for ridges and indicator marks. If you don't see any, they will need to be replaced. Worn brake pads limits accuracy in braking and become a safety issue. You don't want any chance of having an accident.
That's it. Now that your safety checks have been done, it's time to ride, cowboy, ride! Feel the wind on your face and become part of it. Have a great and safe summer!
Daisy Profits writes articles and builds websites on various subjects. She is a jewelry artist and has been a Flight Attendant for 10 years. Daisy lives in Florida with her maltipoo, Sky, in a house she is renovating. You can visit her latest site at http://www.beachcruiserbicycles.org/ with information about beach cruiser bicycles and buying a dog bicycle basket for your beach cruiser bike.
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