By Georgena Terry
If you’re like many of us who live in the frozen north, your bike has been sitting around for weeks waiting patiently for you and spring. While you still have a few weeks of quiet time on your hands, there are a few things you should check out on the bike before embarking on the new season:
1. Wax and clean the frame. You can use the same wax you’d use on your car. Clean and de-dust the frame first. Apply the wax and then buff it off with a soft, lint-free cloth. Don’t use a paper towel — it can scratch the finish. Make sure you get into all the little nooks and crannies around the braze-on bits. Keep the bike looking good by periodically spiffing it up with Lemon Pledge. (Note: if you have a carbon fiber frame/fork, check with your bike shop to make sure you don’t use any cleaning or waxing products that could damage the finish. Plain old water always works!)
2. Check the tires for wear. Wipe the tire down with a damp sponge and then look for little shards of grit and glass that embed themselves in the tire, just waiting for a chance to cause a flat. Using a knife with a fine blade, you can pry these out (wear eye protection). Inflate the tires to the recommended pressure, which is stamped on the side of the tire. If the tires have more than 1500 miles on them, consider replacing them. You get what you pay for with tires, so get the best. They are your only contact points with the road!
3. Brake pads eventually wear out, so check them to make sure they are still within the manufacturer’s recommended range. Really old pads may have a lot of material on them, but they dry a bit with age and don’t stop as well as new pads.
4. Give each wheel a spin and make sure it’s true (not wobbling from side to side) and round (no hops or dips when viewed from the side). If they need a tweak, take them into your local bike shop.
5. Lubricate your chain. (Note: do this before you polish your bike) It’s a dirty job, but when your chain gets too worn out, the shifting degrades. A wax product like White Lightning is clean, easy to apply and, if used enough, will clean your chain and keep it clean.
6. Check your chain for wear. It’s best to replace the chain before it get so worn that it wears out the cassette cogs. It’s much cheaper to replace just a chain than a chain and a cassette. This video will show you how to check chain wear with a ruler:
7.Use a light oil to lubricate the pivot points on the front and rear derailleurs. Apply the oil and then shift gears a few times which will move the derailleurs and distribute the oil.
Georgena will answer your questions about bike-fit, bike-frames, saddles, and bike-maintenance. So don’t be shy. Take advantage of her knowledge and decades of experience to get answers to any questions you have about bicycles. Email me at [email protected].
When Georgena Terry first started designing bicycles, over 30 years ago, there were no women-specific bikes. Many female cyclists were forced to put up with neck, and shoulder pain, and other physical problems that came from riding bicycles that didn’t fit them. Georgena Terry changed that. Looking at anatomical differences between men and women, such as body mass and body strength, she began designing bike frames that optimized comfort and performance for female cyclists, with special attention to women under 5’2”.
Working out of her basement in Rochester, NY, Georgena first designed bikes for herself, then for her cycling friends. In 1985, she sparked a revolution in the cycling industry by launching Terry Precision Cycling, selling custom-built, high-quality steel frame bikes for women. Larger cycling companies sat up and took notice. Eventually following her lead, they developed their own brand of women-specific bicycles, clothing, saddles and accessories.
Today, Georgena continues her passion, designing and building custom steel bikes for women cyclists of all sizes. Contact her at georgenaterry.com
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