Van Halen I hear is working on a new ‘record’ but if you ask me the best VH is probably collecting dust in your garage. If that’s not enough to get you back into that cold dark space then how about that other interest that occupies that slightly immature section of your brain – your bike!
It’s been a rather cold winter and we’re not done yet but our days grow longer by the minute so it’s only a matter of time. So what are we fat tire enthusiasts supposed to do until the first crocus breaks the surface?
I typically find myself sitting around staring out the window, dreaming, thumbing through the trail files in my head searching for the best first ride of the season but these days are perhaps the best opportunity to address what’s been long overdue but rarely on your mind – bike maintenance!
If you’re lucky you have a free lifetime maintenance plan from your local bike shop (if you don’t, check out Bicycle Village http://bicyclevillage.com/articles/boulder-pg214.htm.) This is a great place to start. Winter is sure to find your local bike shop eager to please so take advantage of the lull in the season. Most bike shops will offer a basic maintenance plan and while great for the part time enthusiast, for the diehards you may want to spring for the extra services if you don’t have the time, skills or tools to do it yourself.
The most important of these services I believe is a thorough lube job. A season of Dirt, debris and moisture can wreak havoc on components and a complete work over will surely make you and your bike feel like a superstar.
You’ll also want to evaluate the condition of your tires. Up here in Colorado terrain can vary significantly from trail to trail and can cause premature wear on rubber and if your skill level has improved after another season then a new tire tread may be in order too. Grips are another area to inspect. I like the lock-on variety for better control and Renthal has a great product, just ask your dealer what’s on hand. If you like to jam on your pedals you may want to consider a new chain as they have a tendency to stretch under intense pressure and don’t forget an extra master link. Speaking of pedals now would be a great time to adjust or replace especially if a new pair of cycling shoes are on the new gear list. Brakes should be checked before every ride and chain lube should be on a regular maintenance schedule as well.
Finally, take the extra time to inspect all the hardware on your bike and tighten any loose bolts and screws. The cold days of winter are waning and good times await.