Sanders: Bike checklist for getting out on the trails
Mountain biking with Keith
The last few days of sunshine must have you thinking about getting out on your bike. Maybe you are getting out around town to get the legs warmed up or you could be planning that desert getaway while the snow melts. Either way nothing can spoil your plans like a bike that isn’t working like it should.
There are a few things that you should do not only when you pull the bike out of storage but every time you go for a ride.
• Check air pressure on your tires and always use a gauge. Too low of air pressure and you are at risk of getting flats. Too high and the bike will have less traction, in addition the ride will be rough as the tires tend to bounce off of obstacles in the trail. Tubeless tires will run at lower pressure than tubed tires. NEVER inflate the tires above the air pressure limits of both the tire and the wheel manufacture. Use the lesser pressure between those two. If you have tubeless tires you will need to add some sealant as it tends to dry out in about 30 days or so.
• Inspect your tires for cuts and wear. The sidewalls of the tires can be cut on rocks and other sharp obstacles.
• Spin each wheel to be sure that the brakes are not rubbing and the wheel is true (straight).
• Check the quick releases on each wheel to be sure they are snug.
• Lube your chain, pedals and derailleurs.
• Check each spoke to be sure that it is tight. All the spokes should feel the same relative to the other spokes on that side of the wheel.
• Check the headset for play. The easiest way to do this hold the front brake and push the bike forward and backwards. There should be no play or rocking in the headset. If there is that means it needs to be adjusted.
• Check your wheels to make sure the bearings are not loose. To do this hold the brake and then grab the top of the wheel and push the wheel side to side. It should feel tight. If not have them adjusted.
• Check the cleats on your shoes. This often come loose. Be careful as it is very easy to round on the head on the bolt.
If you do find something that needs adjusted take it into your favorite shop if you are not capable of doing the work yourself.
Hopefully a bit of love to your bike will keep it working well so that you can enjoy every ride!!
Keith Sanders is the President of the Grand Mountain Bike Alliance, 3x US National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking for more information? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out Mountainbikecapitalusa.com.
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