Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ready to Ride?

What makes you feel more confident? For me, when it comes to biking, it's knowing how to make necessary repairs on my bike - such as fixing a flat or repairing a chain - so I can get back on the trail. Last night's Trailside Repair Clinic went over these repair skills in a hands-on session where Divas could learn how to fix a flat. Now that the riding season is upon us, it's time to make sure you have everything you need for your repair kit.

Just a few things from my seat bag & backpack. (Looks like I need
to restock the duct tape that gets wrapped around my pump.)
Here are a few things you should carry with you:

- spare tube - be sure it is the correct size and has the right valve stem
- patch kit
- tire levers

- pump
- chain tool
- master link for the chain- chains come in different widths based on the number of gears on the bike.
   count the number of gears on the cassette (on the rear wheel) to find out which link you need.

- multi-tool with allen wrenches and screwdriver
- rag
- duct tape

- energy bar
- wind jacket
- water or energy drink
- helmet - technically, you're not carrying it, but I don't want to leave it off the list!

I carry most of the repair items in a seat bag that hangs under my bike saddle. The pump goes in my backpack as do my lightweight wind jacket, a few snack bars and energy gels.

Before riding, make sure you have inflated your tires for the surface you'll be biking. For pavement rides, pump tires to near the highest recommended inflation listed on the sidewall of the tire. This will give you the most efficiency by giving the tires less rolling resistance. For dirt trail rides, lower the pressure to get a softer ride that offers more control.

Before riding, check your chain. Is it clumped with oil and dirt? Is it dry and dusty? A little squeaky? Wipe the dirt and grime off your chain by putting it in a workstand or leaning it against something in such a way that you can turn the cranks (pedals) of the bike backward freely. Wipe the chain with a cloth rag then apply some lightweight bicycle chain lube. Let the lube penetrate the dirt, then turn the pedals backward again while wiping the grime off. It should feel much easier to pedal after doing this.

Before riding, give your bike a light wipe down with a soft cloth. You can wipe dirt off the frame without getting it wet first, but if you want to get dust off and you have a spray bottle, you can spritz the frame then use a cloth to wipe down the frame. This is a good time to inspect the frame for damage. If anything seems cracked, take it to a shop to have it evaluated.

The first ride of the season is tomorrow, April 16. See you at Bartlett!

posted by Rose

No comments: