Spring is the time to clean your bike
They say that “Spring brings all things eternal,” but in the bicycle world we say that “Spring brings grease to all things internal.”
For cyclists who ride regularly during the fall and winter, their bicycles take a true beating from the water, road sand/salt and other contaminants encountered during the cold, wet, snowy months.
Cyclists who ride four-to-five days a week or more during this time of year will usually pay to have a “full overhaul,” which entails stripping the parts off of the frame, soaking the drive train parts in a solvent tank, re-packing grease and/or oil on all appropriate moving parts, installing all new cables and housing, cleaning the frame completely, including all threads and contact points and, finally reassemble and adjust everything to work like new.
For cyclists who ride infrequently, giving the entire bike a good cleaning and re-lubrication is generally adequate, assuming the bike is stored out of the elements when not ridden, which is something you should always do.
Whether you ride often or rarely during the winter, consider installing a new chain before starting the spring/summer riding season. The chain is exposed to the most abuse of any other part on your bike.
Dirt, sand, salt and other road contaminants creep into the nooks and crannies of your bicycle. It wears the chain out quickly and can take the other parts on your drive-train along with it if not changed on a timely basis. Suddenly, your $25 simple chain replacement can turn into a $200 complete drive-train replacement.
With spring approaching, take your bike into your favorite shop and get a free estimate of what is needed to keep it in tip-top riding shape. If you are mechanically inclined, take care of it yourself – if not, your local bike shop can do it for you professionally and affordably. This will guarantee that your bike will run safely and properly when you get that one-to-two hour break to go out and ride.
Duane Strawser has been riding and racing bicycles since 1985. He and his wife Connie own Tour of Nevada City bicycle shop and are members of the Sierra Express Bicycle Club. For more information, go to http://www.sierraexpress.org or attend a bicycle club meeting on the last Thursday of the month at Citizen’s Pizza in Nevada City, 7 p.m.
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