5 things to check on your bike before every ride
Biking amid Summit County’s dazzling landscape is one of the most enjoyable summertime experiences, which is why a broken-down bike should be avoided at all costs.
Mountain and road biking here is a way of life. From rolling mountain trails to heart-pounding singletrack to road rides, there’s a biking route for everyone. It’s important to keep the serenity in your biking day, though, by making sure your bike is ready to ride. Here are five things you should check on your bike before every ride.
1. Tires and wheels
Adequate air pressure will help prevent flat tires, and nobody wants a flat tire. Consult the side of the bike tire to view the recommended air pressure range, and also be sure to inspect the condition of your tires and wheels, says Adam Karch, service manager at Rebel Sports in Frisco. Make sure there aren’t any significant signs of wear, and make sure the quick release mechanism that attaches the wheel to the bike frame is securely fastened.
Brakes stop the bike, and you don’t want to end up in a scenario where you can’t stop your bike. Check the brake lever by squeezing it to see if there’s enough pressure, Karch says. If the lever pulls all the way back to the handlebars, that’s a sign there’s not enough pressure and the brake pads might be too low or need adjusting. If you lift the wheel off the ground and the wheel spins freely, that’s good. If it suddenly stops, that means it’s time for a tune-up.
3. Bearing points
The headset on a bike is the handlebars’ bearing system that controls the handling of the bike. Apply the front break while the front wheel is on the ground and rock the bike back and forth to determine how much play, or movement, there is in the headset. If there’s play, it’s time to bring the bike in for a tune-up, Karch said. In order to check the hubs, another bearing interface, grab the wheel firmly and push it back and forth laterally to determine if there’s any movement inside the hub. If there is, bring it in for a tune-up.
It’s important to examine the bolts on your bike, especially the bolts on the handlebars and stem of the bike. The last thing you want is for your handlebar to slip while you’re riding down Swan Mountain Road, Karch says.
“It’s a good idea to check the tightness of critical bolts,” he says.
5. Chain and gears
The chain on your bike should be moving freely. To check for this, lift up the rear wheel and rotate the pedals forward to see how the chain is moving and whether there are any kinks. Also, check the chain lube and apply more if necessary. Karch advises looking at the manufacturer’s recommendations in terms of how much lube to apply.
“If you notice your chain making more noise than it did before, that’s a good time to put some chain lube on it,” he says.
Shift through the gears to make sure shifting is smooth, too.
“It’s not a bad idea to change your chain once a season if you’re an average cyclist,” Karch says. “If the chain wears down, it wears down on other parts of the drive train, so you can get more life out of the other parts of your drive train (by replacing the chain).”
•Rebel Ski & Bike, 220 Main St, Frisco, (970) 668-2759, http://www.rebelskiandbike.com
By Lauren Glendenning | Brought to you by the Town of Silverthorne
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