So spring is approaching us and you want to get your bike out of the garage for the season, well that is if you didn’t ride this winter.
First things first, if there was anything wrong with you bike before you put it away get that fixed asap because the sooner you get it fixed the less it will cost you.
Wobbly wheel? Get that wheel to a shop, a wobbly wheel may be due to broken spokes or the wheel being out of true. The longer you hold off on this the more damage it is going to cause.
Local Ann Arbor Bike Shops
Squeaking or crunchy sounding chain? Lube it up, as I’ve stated before there are different types of lube. For an all in one solution i recommend Finish Line 1-Step , if you are looking for something a little nicer I like to use Finish Line Dry Lube with Teflon any of these or equivalents are available at local bike shops.
Is your chain worn out? This is something that you more than likely have to go to a shop to find out, but they should be able to check it for you free of charge, if they don’t, tell them to screw off and never go back. If you want to be able to check on the condition of your chain’s current state at home you can purchase a Parktool Chain Checker PT-CC3C through Nashbar for cheap, around $9. If your chain is worn out or nearing the end of it’s life it can cause some serious damage to your drive train. Chains and the rear cassette/freewheel are commonly replaced at the same time on nicer bikes due to both of them wearing into/with each other. If you have a cheaper bike you usually can feel comfortable just replacing the chain.
Flat tires or ones that won’t hold air overnight? You can of course take it to a shop or do it yourself. Make sure to make note of your tire size and dimensions before purchasing new ones. If you have problems with you tires holding air (in terms of days not months/weeks people) then I would recommend just replacing the tube(s) , tubes cost the same as a patch kit, and for the most part it takes some practice to patch a tube. Patching tubes are usually a last resort done on the side of the road or at home when you have no other options. Here is some advice on fixing your own flats .
Brakes squeaking, squealing or not working well? This can be caused by different things. I’ll start by going from top to bottom on what could be happening and should be checked. First, are your brake cables/housing in good condition? If they are frayed, rusted up, bent, kinked, etc I would recommend on replacing them. Here is a tutorial on replacing your brake cables , replacing your cable housings . Second, are your brake calipers/cantilevers adjusted properly? Here are two links for adjusting side pull calipers and cantilever brakes. Also make note of the state of your brake pads, commonly brake pads will have a line marked in the rubber to show you how much is left before you should replace them. With brake pads that don’t have an indicator line they are commonly worn out after any grooves that are molded into the pads are gone or wearing out.
Derailer not shifting or acting properly? This is something that I don’t recommend a beginner tackling alone necessarily due to the possibility of what may happen if it is improperly adjusted and or setup. Results may include improper shifting, slipping of gears, and or destruction of your rear wheel and derailer if improperly adjusted. If you do want to service your rear derailer here is all the info you will ever need. The front can be adjust in a similar way.
Fenders are always handy to have on your bike for spring time too. There are many makes and they all essentially do the same thing. Just make sure that they fit and or will work for your bike.
Next blog entry I think I will have a few good weather pics of my setup on my Surly Cross-Check outfitted with new Salsa Bell Lap Bars. Or some info on new and good bikes for this coming cycling season.