Riding during winter is all about survival. OK, so that might sound a little dramatic but people tend to either go into hibernation, stick their bike on a stationary trainer, or tough it out. Whichever category you fall into, the end of winter marks an important time for your bike. As the warmer days approach with more daylight hours are afforded to you, it's time to give your bike some TLC.
The following items are all things you need to consider to keep your bike running optimally. These are especially important if you have had a hiatus over the cooler months, or been indoors on the stationary trainer churning through your drive train and rear tyre.
We caught up with Matt from AvantiPlus The Valley to talk about what all riders need to as we say goodbye to winter and hello to spring!
Deflate the tyres and squeeze them, opening up any splits or cuts that may have glass or sharp objects in there. If you live in the southern states and spent hours upon hours on your indoor trainer, then you may by in line for a new set altogether.
This is an easy one, and something that you should book in every quarter depending on the amount of kilometres you cover from week to week. Your chain and cassette are the top two things to look for when changing seasons. They will absorb a great deal of wear and tear, which is only exacerbated by the moisture, dirt and grit that accompany the bad weather through the colder months. If you haven't had these replaced recently you may have become accustomed to lacklustre shifting, so bring your drivetrain back to life and enjoy the crisp shift of a new chain and cassette.
Another thing to check after riding through winter is the hubs and bearings. These can easily get clogged with dirt and grime, reducing your ride quality and the lifespan of the hubs. If you have braved the winter and ridden continually, then this is a must.
This is very often an overlooked aspect of our bikes that we only seem to notice when there is a problem. You could make a very solid case for the brakes and brake pads being the most important components of your bike, so you should look after them accordingly. Again, depending on the amount of kilometres you cover, changing the pads could be a quarterly thing if not sooner. In recent times we have seen the rise of carbon clinchers or tubular wheel sets being used day to day. If this is you, then you should be changing your brake pads even more frequently.
Change your cleats
Many of us find salvation indoors as the temperature plummets. One such cycling alternative is the traditional spin class. While this saves your bike from any wear and tear, you shoes will still be getting a working over. Changing your cleats to ensure you have the best possible contact is something to consider. You'll know when they are absolutely cactus and need replacing but you shouldn't let it get to that level. Not only will this lead to a lack of performance but it could also damage your pedals, which cost far more than a new set of cleats.
The small things on your bike can make all the difference. For anyone with white or coloured bar tape, a fresh roll will have you feeling good immediately. It might not seem like much, but aside from looking ahead, you look down at your bars more than anywhere else, wouldn't it be nice to see some sparkly white handlebars as opposed to dirty brown ones?!
For anyone with a power meter requiring a battery, a new season should signal a change. Some of the above points are dependent upon your weekly mileage but not this one... Even if your bike has been sitting in a corner collecting dust over winter, before you take it out to begin your spring training, change the battery. It would have progressively lost its charge over time, and the last thing you want is your first ride back not being recorded or being able to see how much work you need to do to regain your fitness.
Now that your bike is pristine and ready to roll, don't forget to get yourself ready for spring too... Block some time out on the calendar on September 1st to wax or shave your legs. Maybe invest in some new socks or kit, possibly even some new shades as you'll be spending more time in the sun cultivating your tan lines.