How to Get Your Bike Ready for Spring

How to Get Your Bike Ready for Spring

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Spring! The time of year when fresh air calls and you long to ride your bicycle. But nothing stinks like having a flat five miles from home. Before hitting the trail, make sure your bike is in tip-top shape. Read the following tips from a bicycle service technician to learn how to get your bike ready for spring.

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Check Your Tires

“The first thing to check is the tires,” says Alfred Witmer, a service technician at Molehill Bikes in Dayton, Virginia. Tires lose air when stored for the winter. If you don’t already have one, invest in an air pump with a pressure gauge. Also, make sure the wheel spokes are straight and tight. Use a spoke wrench if they need tightening.

Just in case you do get a flat, you may want to read up on how to change a bike tire.

Take Care of the Chain

After the tires, check the chain. When pressing down on it with your finger, it shouldn’t move more than 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Too loose and it will come off, too tight and it could damage the bike. Witmer recommends applying lubrication to the chain, front and rear gears and all the moving parts in the crankset. Use a dry lubricant rather than oil or WD-40, which attracts dirt.

Dry lubricants have many uses around the house. You can read about them here.

Check the Brakes

A bike wreck from faulty brakes would surely dampen the excitement of spring. Check that the pads are tight and make proper contact with the wheels. Replace any worn pads. Squeeze the brake levers and make sure they activate the pads on both wheels without sticking.

Once you get home from your ride, store your bike properly. Check out these 10 essential bike storage tips for some great ideas.

Adjust the Gears

With your bike upside down, change the gears as you rotate the pedals. Make sure it shifts smoothly and the chain stays centered on each gear. If you need to adjust the front and rear derailleurs, use a small Phillips-head screwdriver.

In addition to a screwdriver, every DIYer should have these other 23 tools in their tool chest.

Adjust the Seat Height

Witmer’s final recommendation on how to get your bike ready for spring is to check the seat height. Adjust and tighten it with a crescent wrench, if needed, and make sure it’s facing forward. A loose or misaligned seat makes your first ride of the season an uncomfortable one.

Before heading out, see if you need any of these top 10 bike accessories.

Carol J. Alexander
Carol J. Alexander is a Virginia writer specializing in sustainable/green living, home remodeling, and lifestyle topics. Since 2007, her work has appeared in Grit, AcreageLife, Hobby Farms, and over 70 other national, regional, and local print publications, as well as online. Carol helps clients position themselves as an authority in the marketplace by providing easy-to-understand, educational content that attracts readers, answers their questions, and meets their needs.