Is your bike ready to hit the pavement?

Time to dig out your bicycle from behind the shovels and bags of salt but before you jump on your bike this spring there are a few things you should check:

1. Tires – Inner tubes will always lose air over an extended period of time, if the tire is flat when you pull your bike out of storage, inflate it to the proper recommended pressure, found on the side wall.

2. Chain – If the last time you rode your bike was on a wet, snowy or salty day the chain will likely be rust red. Lubricate your chain with light chain oil or in a pinch vegetable oil. Avoid using WD-40 as a chain lubricant, it will do a good job of cleaning a rusted chain but acts as a degreaser in the long run and will not provide lubrication.

3. Brakes – Check to make sure your brakes work, the wheel should completely stop before the lever reaches the handlebar. Standing beside the bike and using the front brake you should be able to lift the back wheel off the ground. Likewise, standing and applying the back brake should cause the back wheel to slide when pushing the bike forward.

4. Bearings – There are four major bearing systems on a bicycle, two in the wheel hubs, one between the pedal cranks and one for the steering. Bearings allow moving parts to spin freely while still keeping them firmly in place. To check bearings, move parts in the opposite direction they normally travel – side to side for wheels and cranks, and front to back for steering bearings. If you notice any “play” or a knocking feel, take your bike to a local shop ASAP.

5. Helmets – Helmets like child car seats have an expiry date and should only be used for 5 years or less. Each helmet will have a manufacture date printed inside, check to see when your helmet was made and replace accordingly.

Andrew from New Hope Community Bikes suggested “Not sure if your bike is ready to go? Bring it in to your local bike shop to have a spring tune up done. Qualified staff will make sure the bike is in tip top shape for riding before you hit the road.

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