It’s time to have your bike checked
by Wina Sturgeon / © 2017, Adventure Sports Weekly. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Very few people know how to check and tune their own bikes and have the tools needed to do so. When it comes to the safety and precision of your ride, it’s best to take it to a shop. If you ride it often, your bike should be retuned about every four months of riding.
Check your cables
The problem is that after a few months, bike components start stretching. Cables may stretch only a little, but that’s enough to affect the precision of changing gears and braking. You may have noticed that your gears no longer change as quickly as they previously did. That’s a big signal that you should have your cables checked.
Check your chain
Although the stretch may be slight, it still weakens the chain. That means the chain may snap at some point, leaving you with an acute emergency—like the rear wheel suddenly stops turning. Sadly, if you can’t instantly and safely bail, the best outcome you can hope for is to not fall over the handlebars, not break any bones and suffer only minimal road rash. Bike shops have a way of measuring the stretch in a chain. Having it adjusted or purchasing a new chain is always less trouble than a visit to the hospital.
Check your brakes
Check your brakes for efficiency. When you squeeze them, where do the pads place? Are they accurately hitting the rim full on, not hanging off the rim a little towards the spokes? Brake pads that don’t grab in the correct place may cause the brakes to squeal. A shop can fix the problem and also suggest whether the pads are worn and need replacing.
Check for safety
If there’s any sloppiness in the operation of your bike, or vibration of any part, take the bike in for a tune-up right away. It’s a lot of fun to ride your bike, but never let your moral satisfaction override your safety.
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