It’s the time of year that your thoughts turn back to summer-time activities as the weather outside gets nicer by the day. If you're like us and enjoy riding your bike around town or on the plethora of trails that our area has to offer, you'll want to make sure your bike is in tip top shape when summer arrives. What should you look at doing to your bike before that time comes? We asked our friends over at the Phoenix Cyclery who are experts on the topic and perform maintenance on bikes all of the time. Here's what they told us to take a look at.

Check Your Bike's Tires

Air up the tires to the correct air pressure. Tires will go low just from sitting over time. If you don’t remember what they’re supposed to be, it’ll be stamped or printed on the sidewall of the tire. If you can’t find or read it, the following are good recommendations to start with:

  • Mountain Bike 35-50psi
  • Road Bike 90-110psi
  • Hybrid Bikes 65-90psi
  • Kids Bikes 20” wheel or smaller 35-50psi.

Once the tires are aired up, you need to check them for issues. Slowly check the tread area for medium to large cuts, large holes, thorns or staples. If there are holes or cuts that concern you, bring it to the shop to have it checked out. After you’ve checked the tread area you need to check the sidewalls for cuts, cracks and dry rot. If the tires are old or out in the sun a lot, there’s a greater potential for cracks or dry rot. Obviously if they’re mountain bike tires and the knobs are worn down or gone, it’s time to replace them. On road tires when they get really worn they will have more of a square profile/flat tread to them instead of round profile. If any of these conditions exist they should be replaced.

Check the Bike's Chain

Lube your chain, chances are it’s pretty dry. If your going to lube your chain, try to do it the night before you ride. If you do it the night before, it gives the carriers in the lubricant a chance to evaporate and the lube time to set up so it doesn’t get flung on your wheels or frame. The other option that works well (my preferred method) is to do it after your ride when the chain is still warm from riding. Once you’ve applied the chain lube of choice, pedal backwards 6-12 times to work it into the chain. You then want to take an old rag and hold it around the chain and pedal backwards another 6-12 times. This will wipe off the excess lube and loose dirt. The beginning of the season is also a good time to have your chain checked for wear by the bike shop. Chains should be replaced between 2500-5000 miles depending on your riding style.

Miscellaneous Maintenance

Check to make sure all axle nuts or quick release skewers are tight and the wheels are in straight. Pull on the brake levers to make sure things move easily and freely. Make sure the brakes close on the rim and will able to stop you. If you have disc brakes, make sure they close on the rotor properly. Now is a good time to check brake pads for wear as well. If you’re not sure what’s acceptable, have the shop check them out.

Other basics to think about include: Is it time for new handlebar grips or bar tape? Is the seat worn and broken down? Do the gears change easily and accurately?

Take the time to check these things out and you’ll get yourself off to a easier and safer cycling season. If in doubt about how your bike is functioning, take it by a local bike shop and have them check it out for you.

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