Monday, October 19, 2009

Tips to Keep from Being Bikeless

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am currently bikeless. While my current bike-misfortune is due to faulty components, I have had my share of self induced bikelessness. Self induced bikelessness is basically when you should’ve known better. Here’s some shouldn’t-have-done-that advice that may keep you from the plague of bikelessness.


Lube your Chain- A little

This is such a foolish mistake that took me years to finally figure out. You need to lube your chain to keep it running well and avoid that seriously annoying squeak noise. But… you don’t need to lube it every ride or even every week. Just lube your chain when you notice a little bit of noise. Just use a little bit of lube (I like Pedro’s lubes). And wipe off the excess.

I’m going to say that again because it’s pretty darned important. Wipe off the excess.

Too much bike lube is a wicked rooky mistake. Sure you’ll never squeak. But you’ll go through gears, chains, and derualliers pretty quickly from over lubing.

Keep an eye on your tires

Your tires are pretty crucial to forward momentum and there are a few things you can do to keep them in shape. First off is to make sure that they are always trued. Do this by lifting up your bike or flipping it over and spinning the wheels. Do they wobble slightly? Take them in to be trued. This helps prevent the seriously more expensive problem of bent rims.

Also, keep a constant eye on your tire pressure. Once you start it will be easy to obsess over your tire pressure. Too much and you’ll bounce around a lot of technical trails. Too little and you’ll bog out on the straight always. Check what your pressure is on your wheel and figure out what works for you. Your weight is a factor in this. I’m on the lighter side so I can run on a lower PSI. If you are heavier you’ll want to run on the high end of the suggested PSI.

Keep it clean

A clean bike during peak mud season sounds like an oxymoron. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best at keeping my mountain bike clean. But, it’s really important and worth mentioning. Basically the more mud that gets into your brakes and chain areas the more mechanicals you are opening yourself up for.

My Muddy Jamis Dakota Sport

I’ve seen that some people take a hose to their bikes to keep it clean. This isn’t really the best option either since it shoots water into every nook and cranny of your bike making it near impossible to completely dry off.

I used to have a bike buddy who would meticulously clean off her bike post every ride. First she’d start at the chain and wipe it down with one of those handy brush/ hook things. Then she’d do the wheels, then the frame and so on. By the time she finished her bike was shiny clean and she had spent probably 45 minutes cleaning it off. It was way more work than I could put into it, but you know what? She hardly ever had mechanicals- so maybe there may be something to say about crazy cleaning.

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