Spring is here (kind of), and while I have been cycling all winter, it's starting to get warm enough for reasonable people to get their bikes out, too. Whether your bike has been taking the winter roads' salty abuse all winter, or simply languishing in the basement, it's going to need some spring love.
The local bike shops are already starting to get pretty busy, with everyone bringing in their bikes for their spring physicals. Personally, I try to avoid the bike shops for simple mechanical work, like routine maintenance, and I've saved a bit of money over time in the process. It's a little silly to pay the shops $50 to pump up your tires and lube your chain.
This week, I'll run you through some of the spring cleaning that I'm doing on my bike. You can do it too, to get your bikes (or your kids' bikes) ready to rock for whenever it's finally okay to rock. But first, you're going to need a few basic supplies:
- bike lubricant (I use tri-flow, but any bike lube is good. Not WD-40)
- bike pump (bigger is better)
- a couple of rags
- an old toothbrush
- tire levers
- allen wrench set or multi-tool
- patch kit
- bike tube (make sure you get the right size/valve)
I'm going to start off easy today. Just get your bike out and give it a good wipe-down with a moist rag. Get the dirt/dust off the frame and tires so you can handle the bike without getting dirty. Now pump up the tires; they are most likely low on air. As you know, the optimal air pressure is printed on the tire's sidewall. After that, push your thumb in to the tire. Make a note of how it feels--this is how your tires should feel.
That should get you started. For the rest of the week, we'll: