The Mandatory Spring Tune Up

Each spring before I get my bike out on the road I like to do a few things to make sure it is operating properly and ready for a full season of use.  If you’re anything like me, the last thing you want is to be left stranded on the side of the road because of a broken brake cable that could have been completely avoided for a small cost.  Each spring I put my bike through a few key maintenance items to ensure my early rides are free of any mechanicals, the last thing I want is to be left behind while my friends ride off into the horizon.

Cables and Housing - Some will say it isn’t necessary, but I replace my brake and shifter cables on my bikes each spring.  Depending on the age of the housing, it may need to be replaced as well.  Little do most people know that this small change can increase the smoothness of your shifting and braking, improving your all-round efficiency and confidence on the bike, who doesn’t want that? Cables and housing are super cheap, always say yes to this service if you can’t remember the last time they were replaced.

Tubes and Tires - I tend to leave my tires from the previous year on all winter.  The spring is a good time to replace the tires if you don’t remember when you put them on.  There are several other factors you may want to consider as well.  If the rear wheel is worn flat, if you can’t located the wear indicator, or if the rubber looks cracked and flakes off when you run your thumb over the sidewall.  Tires can be a bit more expensive to replace, but well worth it.  I always put new tubes in each spring before I start riding, its simple and cheap.

Drivetrain - For those of us that have the knowledge to take apart the drivetrain on our bikes, tend to break them down each spring to make sure the bearings in the bottom bracket are working well and don’t need to be replaced.  I completely clean the chain, rings and cassette with a good degreaser.  I also clean the front and rear derailleur . Once everything has been degreased, I re-lube the components and put them all back together.  This is also a good time to check chain length to make sure its not time to replace it. Determining chain stretch is something that should be left for your local bike shop (LBS).  If the chain needs to be replaced, don’t be caught off guard, your LBS may suggest that you replace the cassette and chain rings as well, this will be a very costly, but well worth it. Nothing feels better then a fresh clean drivetrain!

Keeping the mechanical parts well lubed and clean are the key to making your bike last longer and run more efficiently.   I would suggest that you get your bike to your local bike shop or mechanic during the winter months so you have it ready to go for that early March day when the temperatures are warm enough for you to get out.  

Local places to take your bike in the Collingwood area include Squire John’s, Kamikaze bikes, or call Velofix for home service.