Get Ready For Summer – Summer Riding Readiness Tips
With Summer season fast approaching right now is the best time to make sure you and your bike is good to go so you can get out there in the nice weather and enjoy more time in the saddle.
Get The Hose
Start with a clean slate and get that bike cleaned up and wash it down, what’s better than a squeaky clean bike after all. Be sure to adhere to your bike manufacturer’s guidelines for how to safely wash your bike and its components without causing damage.
Cleaning your ride will allow you to more easily spot worn out parts that should be addressed and any overlooked damage that may have occurred on past rides.
Don’t forget to properly re-lubricate your bike’s components in accordance to your manufacturer’s guidelines and specifications.
Check Your Tires, Rims, Brake Pads, and Chain
Have a close look at your tires and pay attention to excess wear and/or damage, it isn’t too difficult to tell if the tire tread is worn out.
If your tires appear to be in good shape and have life left in them, great! If they’re starting to show their age and appear excessively worn or damaged it’s time to replace them and mount some new rubber.
Consider where you do much of your riding and choose replacement tires with a tread pattern, rubber compounds, and construction best suited for the environment you plan to ride.
Whether you ride tubed or tubeless with sealant be sure to check on the condition of those as well, tubes can go bad and develop pin hole leaks and sealant can dry out. Replace old worn tubes with new ones and reapply fresh tire sealant to tubeless setups.
It’s a good idea to check over your rims, with regular use they can wear out and incur damage. Give them a spin and pay attention, look for any wobbles, damage to the rim walls, and also look for loose or bent wheel spokes.
If a rim appears to be damaged or worn out it should be replaced, damaged spokes should also be replaced and loose spokes should be tightened back to spec.
Brake pads wear out by design, so it’s important to be aware of where their condition lies within their expected useful product life.
It’s also crucial to make sure brake pads are installed, tested, and adjusted correctly. Incorrectly installed or improperly calibrated brakes won’t function as efficiently and can cause excess wear on other braking system components.
The chain is basically like the heart of your bike, you’re going to want to keep it in good shape.
A gunked up squeaky chain should be given a good cleaning with chain solvent and something like an old toothbrush to remove any nasty grime and surface rust. Once all the gunk is cleaned off the chain and cleaning solvent evaporated it should be re-lubricated with your choice of bike specific chain lubricant.
Ultimately chains only last so long, over time with regular use they become longer due to wear between the rollers and link pins, this wear creates slop in the chain and can lead to gear skipping and excessive wear on chain rings and rear cog teeth. It’s much less expensive to replace a chain than a cog set so it’s best to use a wear-indicator tool to check on chain gap and replace when necessary.
Still riding the saddle that came installed on your bike? Why not explore the many available options for a more comfortable and better performing saddle.
It’s beneficial to ride a saddle with dimensions, shape, and construction best suited to your physiological needs, these factors will all enhance your performance and drastically improve comfort, especially on longer rides and even enabling you to bike farther than before.
What’s In The Bag
Depending how often you ride you may not have even opened your saddle bag for quite some time and completely forgotten what’s in there.
Dump out that bad boy and repack it with only essential items for the trail or road and keep the non-essential items back at home or in the car. It can be argued this saves weight, which is true, but ultimately it just makes access to essential items way easier when you need them.
This is also a good time to think about and explore other bag options, for longer trips for instance the addition of a frame bag may prove useful with lots of extra storage space. Inversely, maybe you want to downsize your saddle bag and carry fewer items to reduce weight and attain a more streamlined look.
For spending the day cruising around town or going to the beach a bike with rack to mount pannier bags will allow you tons of storage to easily carry all you need for the day.
Get A Grip
The handlebars are your connection to the bike and should be a comfortable place to rest your hands and maintain control, whether it’s road or MTB you’re riding have a look at your bar tape or rubber grips to see if they are worn out and need replacing.
There are numerous styles and materials used in the construction of bar tape wrap and rubber grips, think about the kind of riding you do and where you ride to help figure out what may be the best option for you. For example, if you frequent streets with lots of vehicle traffic you should check out our selection of Serfas® Reflective Bar Tape to improve your low light visibility to nearby passing motorists.
What A Bright Idea
Depending where you live or plan to do your riding, summertime can mean getting up early before sunrise or going out after the sun goes down to avoid the hottest hours of the day, fellow Phoenicians here in Arizona understand this very well.
Riding early or late in the day obviously means you’re riding with less sunlight which makes having a reliable bright headlight and taillight combination an important accessory so you can see where you’re going and for your own safety.
Be sure to check out our wide selection of Serfas® headlights and taillights here.
One of the simplest bike accessories is also one of the most important, don’t ride off into the heat of the summer without making sure you have somewhere to secure a water bottle, our selection of Serfas® Carbon and Nylon bottle cages will keep your water bottle at arms reach.
For especially long rides a frame bag with water bladder storage may be an even better idea.
The purpose of this article is to be used as a general guide and help as a reminder of the many things to think about when preparing for increased riding time, this is not an all encompassing preparation guide.
It is always recommended to bring your bike to a trusted local bike shop where a trained professional bike mechanic can inspect your bike and perform necessary services to make sure you have a safe bike to ride.
Please always bike safely and wear proper safety gear, such as a bike helmet, to prevent serious injury in the event of a crash.