Don’t Let Spring Leave You Sprung: Spring Bike Maintenance

After a long, and very wet winter, those of us who ride bikes are optimistic that we’ll have more pleasant conditions over the coming months. At the very least, we’ll have some beautiful blossoms to enjoy. Whether your bike has been a trusted source of transportation throughout the winter, or it hasn’t logged miles since November, the spring is a great time for annual preventative maintenance. Here are a few things to think about when getting your bike ready for a new season:

  • Adjust – Make adjustments to the fit of your bike. Things can shift over time, and riding loose or maladjusted seats and handlebars can lead to discomfort or injury. Derailleurs and shifters should also be checked and adjusted to ensure a smooth transition between gears. Grab your helmet while you’re adjusting, and make sure that straps are tight, but comfortable, and that it rests level.
  • Brakes – Check that your brake levers are engaging properly and that cables and pads are in good working order.
  • Chain – Check your chain tension, then clean and lubricate it. Be sure that there’s no damage, and that it’s not stretched.
  • Wheels – As you check your tire pressure, and inflate appropriately, be sure to check the condition of the spokes, rims, and tires. Are they true? Do your tires look cracked or worn?
  • Clean – Make it shine! Give your bike a rinse with a gentle cleanser, and consider a coat of wax. Both you and your bike will perform better without last year’s grime and winter salt holding you back.
  • Safety – Be sure that your lights and reflectors are in good working order. If you have any baskets, racks, or child carriers, be sure to inspect them to be sure that no hardware has been lost or damaged.

    VCU RamBikes & Oak Grove-Bellemeade Bike Club members repair a bike together.

If you’re unsure how to tackle a pre-season tune-up, your local shop is a great resource. However, if you’re determined to learn the art of bike maintenance, VCU RamBikes hosts Workshop Wednesdays from February 20-April 24 this spring at 5 PM. This free series will cover basic bicycle maintenance and upkeep.