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
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.
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.
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.