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4 Things to Check Before Starting a Cycling Season

ByDave Stopher

Jan 9, 2020 #Bikes, #Sports

Depending on your enthusiasm, everyone starts off their cycling season differently. While I’m sure we all know a guy or girl who wakes up and jumps into his cycling shorts, there are those who are in a constant mental battle between snoozing and getting up.  Either way, after a long break, you have to be sure your bike is in tip-top condition.

This article covers 5 important components you must inspect before you officiate your cycling season. It’s important that your bike is always well maintained to avoid injury and high repair costs. Shimano is a popular brand for bike replacement components.

Brake Pads

This seems like common sense, but many amateurs head off after just a quick squeeze of the tires for air pressure. You wouldn’t want your brakes to fail or not work properly when you need it to. Over time, your brake pads will wear out from the constant friction against your wheels. Brake pads have wear indicators such as grooves or lines. If you don’t see any, it probably means you’ll need to replace them. You can save a lot of money by doing this on your own.

Image from Bikeparts.co.uk

Chain

If you notice a chain skip, or when your chain slips when you pedal under pressure, try asking yourself the last time you replaced your chain. The individual links of a chain are held up by pins and rollers that will wear over time, causing each link to “grow”. Mechanics suggest replacing your chain every 2000 miles is ideal, depending on your riding style.

Image by sutulo via Pixabay

If it rained during your cycle, the lubricant has most likely been washed away, leaving the chain susceptible to rust. A rusty chain makes gear shifting harder and damages your drivetrain in the long run. It’s better to get a new chain for $20 than a drivetrain for up to $400. You should lubricate your chains at least once a month if you cycle several times a week. However, you shouldn’t overlubricate your chains because it can become a magnet for dirt and grime.

Headset

The headset is an important set of components that allow free rotation of the bicycle fork through the head tube of the bicycle frame as you maneuver your way down the road. A headset that has come too loose can easily damage the internals of the headset, and if it’s too tight, you wouldn’t turn the front wheel freely.

A simple way to detect if it’s loose is by giving the front wheel a few bounces off the ground and by rocking the handlebars back and forth. If it gives off a rattling sound, chances are the headset bolt has come loose, and you can simply tighten it with a multi-purpose 4mm Allen key.

Image by Free-Photos via Pixabay

Air

Over time, air molecules will seep out of the rubber tube in your tires. You’ll notice yourself gasping for air when cycling with soft tires, but you should really stop when the tires go flat. This can damage the rims and tires, as well pose as a safety hazard because the tires could simply slip out of the rims. Your tires will have a recommended psi on the sidewall, and your tire pressure should stay within this range.

Take-Home Message

You wouldn’t want to start off the season with faulty parts, or worse, get yourself involved in an accident that could have been avoided if you paid attention to some of these crucial aspects. It’s great to be enthusiastic, but don’t overlook the basics! A careful cyclist is a safe cyclist.

 

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