By Laurel-Lea Shannon
Last November I did something I’ve always wanted to do but have never made time for. I took my bike in for a spring tune-up. That’s right—at the end of the cycling season, not the beginning. Hey, it’s the easiest time to do it. I wasn’t using my bike. I hadn’t yet taken the bike rack off the car in preparation for winter. My bike mechanic wasn’t being rushed off her feet, so she could give my bike the TLC it needed after a full season of riding. Not only did she tune it up, she cleaned and polished it til it looked as bright as a new penny. For the first time ever, come spring I’m ready to ride.
If you’re someone who starts thinking spring tune-up in January, and then you wait until April to call the bike shop, listen up. There are a lot of good reasons to make haste and get your bike tuned up now. Here are a few:
1) Beat the rush. When spring comes and it’s time to ride outside again you’re going to want that tune-up done yesterday. But bike shops will be fully booked. You’ll have to join the queue, and perhaps wait weeks for an appointment. Beat the rush and get your bike tuned up now.
2) Better service. This isn’t true of all bike shops, but some let their service slide during the spring rush. Find out in detail what you’re getting for your tune-up and make sure you get it. A basic tune-up should include: cleaning and lubrication, a safety check, checking and adjusting derailleurs, checking and adjusting brakes, and checking tires and inflating them to the proper pressure.
3) Ready, set, GO. When the weather warms up, you’ll climb on your shiny steed and ride off in the sunshine knowing that your bike is clean, properly lubricated, and mechanically sound. And that you’re ready to go, go, go.
4) Gratitude. Your bike shop will shower you with gratitude. They can use the business this time of year.
If you have a bike mechanic or shop that goes the extra mile and does great bike tune-ups, recommend them here or on our facebook page. Here’s mine.
For cyclists who live in the Ottawa area, I gave a spin this year. I’m super picky about my bike. But I was impressed. Jennifer West, the owner, puts a whole new spin on the basic bicycle tune-up. Not only did my bike look brand new when it was returned to me, it looked pampered, as if it had been to a bike spa. This is the best and most reasonably priced bike tune-up I’ve ever had ($35). If you live inside the city limits, Jen will pick up and deliver your bike. It just doesn’t get any better than that. But don’t wait till spring, do it now. Her prices go up in February.