In the mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and Central United States the weather is definitely a consideration when training or riding outdoors. Besides the biting cold wind turning most of us bright red, we return with a black cassette and crank covered in road sludge or for off-roaders mud, wet leaves, and small burs. Our beautiful frames show slashes of dirt from tires spinning through puddles and left-over salt and ash of the stormier parts of winter. Our first thought, when pulling into the garage. is most likely on getting warm and logging into our STRAVA to show people how absolutely focused, or intensely crazy we are for riding in the cold, not on cleaning the bike. This can cause some grinding and wearing of parts on your bicycle.
For me, the bike is a member of the family, taking a top spot somewhere between my wife and two dogs.
Now that my kids are adults by age, they have their own lives, and I am no longer chasing them around and going to the local park (although I miss that sometimes). I think, “Remember when you brought VADER home? How sweet he slashed through the road rebels, setting new KOMs, flying through the local communities in a blur. How great that bottom bracket spun with such a clear stroke of the crank that every watt poured onto the road. How the nice new shiny cassette spinning with a bright gold chain sliding through each gear like a hot light sabre through butter… and the sound of his hub like a tie fighter screeching through the air….it would spin 10 hours if I let it.” That last one may be an exaggeration?
If Santa/Krampus did not bring you a new bike, you can get your current ride back into top condition. You can clean your bike on your own, and get it to about 90% of the new bike feel as possible. Or you can elect to take your bike to your local bike shop for a spring tune up. Most are offering New Year Tun- Ups at lower prices. These are not a ploy to spend your money in their shop, they are preventative maintenance that will help you spend money only on the things that are fun in their shop during the season when that new GPS Unit or Giro Aries Helmet is available.
Most shops offer three different levels of a tune up. (The services listed are average and may differ from shop to shop, prices are approximate).
Commuter Special: Check Cables on Both Gears and Brakes, Check the wear of and replace brake pads, Examine and clean up aluminum rims. check wheel true and fix if needed. general cleaning of drive train and lube chain. Examine tire condition. $80
Rails to Trails: Check cables on both gears and brakes, Check electronic contact points, Check the wear of and replace brake pads, Clean /Align Disc rotors, Examine and clean up aluminum rims, check wheel true and fix if needed full cleaning of drive train and re-lube parts including removing cassette and chain giving it a cleansing bath. Examine tire condition. Replace worn or cracked bar tape. $140
Spring Classic: Check cables on both gears and brakes, Check electronic contact points, Check the wear of and replace brake pads, Clean/Align disc rotors, disassemble and full cleaning of drive train and re-lube parts including removing cassette and chain giving it a cleansing bath, check wheel hubs, grease all bearings, check torque on all hex nuts on seat post, pedals, Remove Bottom Bracket cleaning and re-grease bearings, re-grease and adjust headset, check for cracked spacers, frame inspection with light, check wheel true and fix if needed, Examine tire condition. Replace worn or cracked bar tape. Rides like new! $200
Sun psychology needs mentioned here; If the sun is out for more than 3-days the shops will get slammed with tune-ups. Anticipate this and be sure to take your bike in when the weather is less than favorable to the average bicycle owner. Like any vehicle it will cost money to replace worn parts, but in the long run it will cost less if you stay ahead of your maintenance if just once a year.
If you did not get that shiny new steed in 2023, your trusty one can last a long time. The tune-up is great for a safe bike, a fast bike, and a happy rider!
-Jim Colonna, Secretary BMV 2023
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