Getting Your Bike Road Worthy
You’ve been riding your trusty rusty two-wheeler for a month or so now, and you’re looking at your garage thinking, “maybe it’s time to bring out the ‘good’ bike”. But, how do you make sure your good bike is ready for summer riding? Here’s a few quick tasks that’ll make sure your jewel is trail-worthy.
Clean Up Your Bike:
A clean bike extends the life of all the other components, just like a clean car lasts longer. Use a basic biodegradable cleaner like “Simple Green” and take a towel and toothbrush to clean everything from handlebars to back tires. Make sure to use as little water as possible to help avoid rusting. Also, don’t forget to get under the seat!
Inspect the Brake System:
Brakes are probably the most important safety feature on your hog, so be extra diligent with them. Being able to brake as necessary is the key in avoiding accidents. A poor braking system could lead to loss of control while riding, which is what you want to avoid (trying to stay upright and everything!), so be thorough.
First, check the brake pads (the rectangular component that actually rubs against the metal part of the tire. These wear down after use, so they should be reassessed every year. If you notice a ridge or another uneven wear pattern, you may want them adjusted and should be replaced if they’re worn down too thin.
Next, squeeze your brake on the handle. Watch if the pads hit the tire rim at the same time. If they don’t you may need to adjust them via the brake arm tension screw (usually near the brake lever arms near the tire).
If you think your brakes aren’t up to snuff, bring them into a bike shop to get new ones installed. Don’t ride without properly functioning brakes!
Check Your Wheels:
This is probably the easiest part of the process. Turn your bike upside down and spin the wheels. They should move smoothly, without wobble.
A wobbly rim can be fixed with a spoke wrench. However, if you are not sure of what you’re doing, adjusting spokes can lead to more problems if you don’t know what you’re doing. A bike repair shop may be a good first choice.
Check your Tires:
Tires fit around the wheels to protect them. Tires are the source of friction with the ground and can be designed for a variety of surfaces from pavement, dirt, and gravel (if you’re off-roading!) Also, properly functioning tires offer a little shock absorption making for a more comfortable ride.
Check for splits, cracks, or tears, most likely along the sides of the tires (where they don’t actually touch the ground.) Riding a tire with cracked sidewalls increases the chance of a flat tire. This is because the inner tube (inside the tire) may bulge through a crack or split exposing it to the ground and road debris. Also, make sure to inspect the tread for wear or uneven surfaces. Since tires are moderately inexpensive, if there’s doubt, best to have it replaced.
Local Shops and Repair Locations
There are several locations in the Brainerd Lakes area that cater to bike repair and sales. You can’t go wrong with by introducing yourselves to them to get a better picture on how to best maintain your bike.
- Muddy Bikes – Brainerd
- Life Cycle – Nisswa & Brainerd
- Easy Riders Bicycle & Sport Shop – Brainerd
You can also find peppered throughout the trail system are extremely helpful tune up stations. They offer the most used tools needed to keep your bike running, once you’re on the trail.