Organizing for cycling season

Now that warmer weather is arriving in the northern hemisphere, it is a great time to organize your outdoor spaces and garage/shed. Additionally, you may have a number of bicycles and bicycle equipment that could use some orderly attention.

Annual bicycle maintenance

If your bicycle has been in hiding all winter, it is best to take it to a certified bicycle mechanic for annual maintenance. Your bicycle will be safer and more comfortable to ride after a good tuning. Annual maintenance usually includes:

  • Replacement of brake and gear cables
  • Brake adjustment and brake pad replacement (if required)
  • Chain and gear lubrication and adjustment
  • Wheel alignment
  • Tire wear verification (tire replacement if required)
  • Tire pressure adjustment

Bicycle fitting

Children grow quickly and it is important to ensure their bicycles fit them correctly so they can ride safely. If you’re unsure how to do this, a bicycle mechanic can be of great help. Adults can benefit from a proper bicycle fitting as well. A properly sized bicycle makes it easier to ride and also reduces fatigue and muscle soreness.

Bicycle accessories

Verify that all reflectors are clean and in their proper places. Replace the batteries in headlights and taillights and your cycle computer, if you have one. Check that the clips that hold your phone or GPS to your handlebars are secure before you head out on the road — you don’t want expensive electronic equipment smashing on the pavement. It is a good idea to test your bike lock, too, just to make sure you remember the combination or that the key still works. Check the lock for cracks, splits or other damage. Add a bit of lubricant if necessary to keep it working smoothly.

Bicycle clothing

Verify that all of your bicycle apparel — helmet, shoes, shorts — still fits. Replace any worn or ill-fitting clothing. Helmets must be replaced after a crash and many have expiration dates that indicate when the helmet material starts to break down and reduce protection. Helmets should fitted properly to protect you while riding.

Organizing cycling equipment

Whether you’re an avid cyclist or you just do short weekend rides with your family, having your cycling gear organized will allow you to spend more time riding.

You may wish to store equipment such as bike lights, locks, pant clips/bands, and gloves, etc. in a pocket over-the-door hangar. This is a good option if each family member has his/her own bike as each person’s equipment would be stored separately and children can easily access their own equipment. Helmets can be stored on hooks on a wall. Alternatively, a set of hanging shelves in a closet can work well.

Helmets and battery powered cycling gear should not be exposed to extreme temperatures, so at the end of cycling season remove them from cold garages and sheds and store them in labelled bins in a warmer location.

Donate unused bicycles and bicycle parts

If you have older, unused bicycles or a box of miscellaneous bicycle parts taking up space in your garage or shed, consider donating these items to a local program that refurbishes used bicycles for those in need. Most bicycle repair shops can advise you on the best place to donate and some repair shops even run programs themselves. The International Bicycle Fund has an international list of organizations that collect and refurbish bicycles for people in developing nations.

5 Comments for “Organizing for cycling season”

  1. posted by MJ Ray on

    Cut the clutter by rejecting bicycler clothing: if you’re doing more than 20-30 miles at a hop then padded undershorts are worth it, but they’ll store neatly in your smalls drawer. Other than that, it’s a mix of gimmicks and unnecessary. Helmets are not tested for anything more than a fall from standing onto a smooth surface or perfect kerb and how often does that happen? A cap or beanie will keep you shaded or warm better and packs away smaller. Cycling shoes (with clips) exchanged a debatable claimed tiny performance improvement with a new risk of falls from stopped still (maybe this is why some wear helmets). Fit flat grippy commuter pedals and ride in comfy sneakers. Cycling can be as easy as walking out the door and riding off into the sunset… don’t clutter it up!

  2. posted by MJ Ray on

    I just noticed the remarks about batteries. Fit good dynamo lighting (Axa HR plus Pico headlight and Riff taillight is my choice) and it’s bolted to the bike and never needs recharging, so that’s a load of lighting and battery clutter gone!

  3. posted by Jacki Hollywood Brown on

    Hey MJ,
    While helmets may be tested only for falls from a stand-still, they are, by law required in many countries by both adult and child riders.

    As for other cycling clothing and other equipment, it is important for people to have what they need to enjoy the sport. Each person must evaluate him/herself what is necessary. Keep the best, get rid of the rest.

  4. posted by ratwoman on

    Jacki, you’re absolutely right – every one should decide what they need. I would suggest to go through your apparel and sort out what you didn’t use for a year or longer. I do not do big tours but I ride my bike to work everyday – I do not need click-pedals or padded pants but I need a small repairkit (I use “unflatable” tires and stickers, no vulcanizing stuff – I do not have the time to wait for it to dry) a raincoat and rainpants and grippy pedals – the smooth ones become slippery in the rain. And I need a Battery-Light because Dynamos don’t work in rain. But if you like to go for family tours you will not get caught in bad weather and you will never need that stuff. Get the apparel you need or feel comfy with – you should fit it to the purpose, not to what is available!

  5. posted by MJ Ray on

    ratwoman – in general I agree with you, but let me assure you, good dynamos work in the rain, else I wouldn’t get far with one in England, would I? ;-)

    Jacki – Cycling’s only a sport for a few (maybe a helmet’s a good idea for racing riders, like it seems to be for racing drivers) and helmets are only required by law in the bike-hating countries of Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Malta, Slovakia and a couple of other countries who are documented as not enforcing their laws… although some other places have similar local laws.

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