Friday, April 3, 2009

Welcome to April

Here we are Divas and aspiring Divas, early April and still lots of snow on the ground and ice in the streets, mixed in with a little ash for traction, I suppose. For all you procrastinators who have yet to get your bikes tuned up for spring, may I suggest: take it in now before things really get melting. OK, you've been warned. For those whose bikes are tuned and you're wondering what to do before the season kicks off, here is a checklist. (This first one is a good one for before you take your bike in to a shop.)

Clean your bike!
If you put away your bike when it was still covered with mud (tsk, tsk!) use a dry cloth to slough off the dirt, then give your bike a wipe down with a wet cloth. Next, take a look at your chain. What color is it? Black, silver, orange? Use a repair stand or lean the bike so you can spin the cranks (where the pedals attach) all the way around. Now, take a cloth and grasp the chain, applying pressure with the rag as you pedal backward wiping off the black gunk. If the chain is orange, first drip some bike chain lubricant (fig#1) on the entire length of the chain and let it sit. Then run your chain through a cloth to wipe off the rust before applying a tiny bit more lube to the chain.
fig #1: choose your weapon!

Inflation isn't always bad!
Your tires have been losing air all winter. Before the first ride, pump them up to the recommended inflation - it's shown on the sidewall of your tires, as seen in fig#2. Use the higher number for pavement, so you'll go faster; and the lower number for off-road so you'll have more control and a less-jarring ride.
Road bikes have a much higher recommended inflation, up to 120 psi! Always check your pressure *with a gauge* before you show up for a ride. It will save lots of time as we prepare to ride and you'll be much happier to not be working too hard!
fig #2: 40-60 psi, but your results may vary...

It's in the bag!
Do an inventory of your repair kit. Do you remember how your pump works? Is it set up for the correct valve stem? Test it out to be sure. How about your spare inner tube... did you have a flat at the end of last season and leave the punctured tube tucked away in your seat bag all winter? Now is the time to make sure the tube is still good or to put on a patch so you can reuse it. Also be sure you have your folding multi-tool, tire levers, rag and patches in your repair kit: fig #3.
fig #3: what's missing from my repair kit?
We'll have a random drawing for a special
prize if you post the answer(s) here!

Saddle up!
Now think back to last summer. Was everything comfortable on your bike? Were you suffering with a bad saddle? Were your grips getting shredded from all the shifting and climbing and general fun you were having? Now's a good time to get those replaced so you can have a more comfortable riding season.

Use your head!
How old is your helmet? More than four years? Did you crash on it and not replace it? Helmets can take one impact. After that, the foam has been compacted and it doesn't offer the same protection as it did the moment before impact. Replace it and be sure to throw it away. It is not a good loaner for when you have company. Period.

What else?
Remember your gloves? Your snot-and-mud-covered gloves? If you forgot all about them after August, find them. Put them in a lingerie bag (assuming they have velcro closures) and wash them with your next load of laundry. You will be so happy you did the first time the cold nips your nose and you reach up to wipe!

Phew! So, who's coming to the Meet & Greet on the 8th @ Paramount? Bring your helmet so we can make sure it fits properly, bring a mug/cup for beverages, and bring a friend who is wondering what this Diva mountain biking group is all about.

posted by rose


Lorigonz said...

Hmmmm. How about a spare chainlink?


Lorigonz said...

Wait, I know! A tire patch! Also, some lip gloss :)


bikegirl said...

Anybody else? Lori has two chances to win!