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Prepare Your Bike for Spring

By Christopher Ashley

The weather is warming and the salt has been washed off the road. It’s time to put away your winter bike, and dust off your good bike. Here’s how to keep it your good bike.

Pump up the volume

If you didn’t hang your bike off the floor for the winter, you should have kept the tyres inflated enough to avoid the inner tube getting pinched or stressed.  Even the lightest of frames weighs a few kilograms and could weaken a tube, or worse, the side walls of your tyres.

If you’ve missed even the smallest bit of grit, it could have become slowly embedded in the tyre so you’ve got two options. First, to take off the tyre and inner tube and give them a good inspection, removing any sinister looking pieces of grit. Second? Put on new tyres and inner tube and pump up to pressure.

Stay true to yourself

Trueing stands may seem expensive, but over the course of a couple of thousand miles they’ll more than pay for themselves. Although I love my trueing stand, our friend Tony 10 Speed shows you how to true a wheel without using one.

So true your wheels. Sure, your Local Bike Shop will do it for £10, but really you should only be using them for emergencies. Your reliance on your LBS will deprive you of the zen-like pleasures that can only come from discovering the truth that a true wheel improves performance.

Wipe down the frame, re-grease the drive chain

I’m going to assume you gave the love of your life a deep clean before putting her away for the winter, so all you should really need to do is wipe down the frame to get the worst of the dust off.  The oiled components of the drive chain are another matter and will need some attention.

The video above shows you the traditional method of degreasing and then re-applying lubrication, but if you have a spare £120 lying around you may want to give a sonic-degreaser a whirl. It makes the process of cleaning a lot easier and will improve the lifespan of your components.

Rims and brakes

Bikes are likely to be stored in sheds and garages, and these are the places we like to work on mucky greasy machinery – and where we like to store oil and grease. No matter how careful and tidy you think you are, can you honestly say the same about your partner, your children, or your room-mates?

Your ability to bring your vehicle to a controlled stop can quite literally be a matter of life and death, so don’t leave your safety, or the safety of others, to chance. Thoroughly wash the rims of both your wheels, to ensure there is absolutely no grease that could affect the braking. Ensure your brake pads have plenty of wear left on them and are free of grit. Now go and enjoy yourself!