Keep it Clean

The joys of de-greasing after a wet ride

Your bike, is one of the most perfect machines ever made. Only you and time can screw it up. Basic maintenance is a simple and essential routine which will not only prolong the life of your bike, but also keep you safe on the road.

A cyclists mantra should be — keep it clean. Your goal is to continually return that bike to the pristine state it was in when you first purchased it. A clean bike offers a comfortable, maintenance-free ride. The more seamless the ride, the better rider you become. The better rider you are, the more fun the road is.

After every ride, wipe down the frame its parts. Run your hands over the bike to assure everything is bolted down, looks right and feels tight. This simple post-ride activity should become as habitual as repacking a parachute. Your bike, like your parachute, will usually work, even when stricken with all sorts of maladies. But why take the added risk?

Most bike parts suffer little wear. Your wheels on the other hand are the bikes achilles heel. Too many hard bumps and your wheels can lose their true and cease to be perfectly round. Incorrectly inflated or worn tires go quickly flat. Accumulated neglect of wheels and tires, the most common rider error, adds up and can prove disastrous. Fortunately  it’s 99% preventable.

Take a rag to the wheels after each ride. Conduct a quick tire and spoke inspection, especially if you know you hit a big bump on the ride. Spin the wheels. If they appear even slightly warped, do not ride again until you’ve had your wheels trued at your local bike shop.

Over time, parts can work loose and cables stretch. That’s why good bike shops offer a free checkup on the new machines they sell. Most do it more than once, so take advantage. This is one of the last free services left in America and bike shops are famous for it. Otherwise, get in the habit of taking your bike in at the start of each riding season for a quick tuneup.

Short of impact, nothing fails on a bike without neglect. Other than properly inflating tires before each ride, lubricating the drive chain is your only routine maintenance. Road bikes are fairly easy to keep up because they ride on relatively clean smooth surfaces. Sand and mud are normally non-issues, unlike our mountain bike brethren where maintenance is laborious and continuous.

In dry weather clean that chain every 300 miles or monthly. Just lean the bike against something secure and rotate the pedals slowly backwards, passing the chain a few times through the rag. Then make another slow backward pass while drizzling a paraffin-based lubricant like White Lightening on each link.Be sure to wipe the chain after lubricating, as any excess will attract more road debris.

That’s pretty much it. For everything else, visit your local bike shop. Service and repairs there are relatively cheap compared to any other mechanic’s services. The friendly and knowledgeable mechanics can make almost any bike work and keep you on the open road.

A short Señor J-less ride today as he is down in the Caribbean enjoying some quality tropical time with his family. It was rather soupy today making the ride a real sweat fest, hence the clean up afterwards…sweat can really muck up your crank and front derailleur.

Route: GCTC-20
Ride Time: 1:24:35
Stopped Time: 19:58
Distance: 23.18 miles
Average: 16.45 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 20.90 miles/h
Ascent: 138 feet
Descent: 93 feet
Calories: 1596

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