Tune Up Your Bike For Summer

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Whether you’re a year-long rider or you just like to enjoy nice summer weekends on Vancouver Island’s trails, tuning up your bike with the changes of seasons is a necessary step to ensure a safe and smooth ride.

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to tune up your bike for spring and summer’s warmer and sunnier weather

1.    Clean up!

If you ride during the winter, this step is especially necessary, but it’s also a good idea if you keep your bike locked up during the cold months. Remember that a clean bike, just like a clean car, lasts longer!

We suggest using a mild, biodegradable all-purpose cleaner to clean your bike. Use a small towel or cleaning cloth for the big parts and a toothbrush (used is okay) for the small nooks and crevices.

It’s important to clean everything, because muck and dust can accumulate in the smallest corners. Take out the seat, clean the seat tube and add some bicycle grease before putting it back in.

2.    Check the brakes

Your brakes are possibly the most important element of your bike. Good breaks help you control your speed and stop quickly in case of emergency.

Begin with your break pads: they should wear evenly. Ridges or bumps are a sign that you need your breaks adjusted. Replace pads that have become too thin.

Make sure the pads touch your rim at the same time from both sides and that the breaks respond quickly to your hand. Adjust the tension of the arm and cable accordingly, if necessary.

3.    Inspect the wheels

Wheels are next. First, clean them with some rubbing alcohol and a dry cloth. Check for dents, cracks or other damage to the rims and tires. Look at the threads of your tires for excessive or uneven wear. Put your bike upside down and roll the wheels—they should go straight without wobbling.

If your rims are damaged, have them replaced. If they seem wobbly, take your bike to a repair shop to have the spokes adjusted.

4.    Look at the drivetrain

After a visual inspection for damage to the chain and chainrings, the derailleur and the cassette, use a bike stand (or a friend) to shift through all the gears while rolling the back wheel.

Look for dents, scrapes, missing teeth and other damage. If anything looks unsafe, have it replaced.

5.    Check the cables

You’ve already checked the break cables, but you also need to check others. The rubber should be smooth and the cables should not be too loose. Have damaged or worn cables replaced at the bike shop.

6.    Lubricate

Almost done! But before you head out, make sure to lubricate the chain and the moving parts of the derailleur. Add lubricant to your brake levers as well.

After you’ve gone through all these steps, your bike should be primed and ready for its first summer ride. If you have any doubts as to the safety or proper working order of your bike, take it to a shop for inspection and repairs. Better safe than sorry!