Tips to Get Your Bike Ready for the Season
Summer is coming soon to Northeast Ohio, which means longer days and warmer weather to enjoy the beauty of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. What better way to stay active and soak up the rays than to bike? But before you hop on your bike, make sure it’s in tip-top shape! Here are some tips to get ready for your first ride of the season:
Pulling your bike out of storage from the winter? Be sure to check your tire pressure before hitting the road. Our Bike Aboard! sponsors at Century Cycles in Peninsula recommend pressing down on the top of the wheel and observing the feel of the tire and how much it bulges against the ground. The recommended pressure for your tires is usually printed on the side and listed as a range (e.g. 40-65psi). Also look for excessive wear in the tread, cuts or cracks on the tread or sidewall, exposed threads or wires, or bulges. If you see any of these, replace the tire.
Sometimes critters can cross your path so make sure your brakes are working. To test your brakes, grasp the brake lever firmly and rock the bike forward and backward. The brakes should hold firmly without slipping or squealing. Make sure to test both brakes (right and left handles) to ensure both brakes work.
Chains can rust over if the bike wasn’t stored properly so closely inspect the chain before heading out. If there’s a little surface rust, you can clean and re-lubricate it, however, if it’s completely covered solid with rust, it’s time to replace it. Century Cycles recommends to spin the cranks backwards and observe if the chain moves freely over the cogs without any kinking, skipping, or binding.
Make sure the handlebars are in place by checking the stem. Stand over your bike with the front wheel between your legs and grasp the handlebar firmly and try to turn the handlebar without turning the wheel. If the handlebar turns, do not ride the bike and have it checked by a qualified bicycle mechanic.
Ready to get out and bike?
Join us this summer for Bike Aboard! $5 per person or $35 for a pass good for the summer. Park your car, bike down the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath, hop on the train, sit back and take in the scenery. Don’t forget your helmet!