The best thing you can do... for your bike
You’ve purchased all the gear, set yourself a goal, you’ve texted your friends to confirm the meeting spot, only to start riding your bike to find it ‘squeaking’!
How many times have you ridden through rain, sleet, wind, dirt, and road works or along the beaches, where salt grips to your bike like you hold your first coffee for the day. You finish your ride, congratulating oneself in the shower and you go about your day, all while your bike sits there disgusting, dripping from the weather, with a sweat crust building up, wreaking havoc on your bike.
There’s only one solution: Clean your damn bike! Having a clean bike, especially a lubed chain is additional free speed and your ride buddies will be grateful there is no squeaking to ruin the serenity.
Below is a super-simplified checklist, it literally take’s five minutes. Go, on. Your bike will thank you later.
BEFORE YOU RIDE
• Wheels and Tires: Give them a spin. Make sure they’re on securely, and are “true,” meaning they rotate without any side-to-side wobble. Confirm that the quick-release skewers are tightened and that your tyres are still in good condition (look for little bits of glass that may be working their way through the tyre and towards the tube - get them out!).
• Brakes: Check that they’re not rubbing against the wheels. Squeeze the front and rear levers separately to ensure the brake pads apply enough pressure to the rims to stop each wheel.
• Headset: This is the cylindrical set of parts between the handlebars and the fork that ensures smooth steering. Try to jiggle it. Your headset shouldn’t be too loose or too tight.
• Shifting: Run through your gears. Your rear derailleur should move your chain smoothly through your cassette. The same applies to your front derailleur and chain rings. If not, or it is making a noise it could time to book your bike in for a service with your local bike shop.
AFTER YOU RIDE
It’s a good idea to wipe your bike down—including the chain—and go through the same pre-check that you did before your ride.
• Checkpoints: Refer to Pre-Ride list above.
• Frame: Clean it with a wet rag or baby wipes. This is a great way to become more familiar with your bike and how it works.
• Chain: Using a clean rag, wipe away all grit and grime and then re-lubricate it (you can buy a small bottle of chain lube from you local bike store), trying to hit each link on the chain at least once. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then wipe off the excess. Then shift through all your gears.
IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE
Clean and re-lube your chain. It’s the one thing that will make the biggest difference to your ride, not only to the longevity of the components but also to your rides.
If all of this sounds like I'm speaking Spanish, head into your local Specialized Retailer who will be able to help you out and show you some tips and tricks!
By Matilda Raynolds
Matilda is the Communications Specialist at Specialized Australia and consistently smashes the boys on the lunch ride! Follow Matilda @matildaraynolds