Forget about the gym memberships, you probably already have the perfect fitness machine sitting in your garage or basement. Drag it out and dust it off for a little tune-up and you are good to go. Of course I’m talking about your bicycle.
First things first, you’re going to want to give the bike a quick wash and inspect it for anything obvious. Tires shouldn’t be bald or show signs of cracking. Air them up with a bicycle pump to the proper pressure (the numbers will be printed on the actual tires), then make sure your shifters and brakes are all working properly. Being able to stop is going to be the most important function! You will also need to lubricate your chain….especially if that bike has been sitting around for a while. Yes, there is an actual product called “bicycle chain lube”, no shortcuts allowed here.
That being said, if you are not the “hands-on” kind of person that wants to tackle this yourself, find a reputable local bike shop to take care of it for you. Most of them offer a “tune-up” package, with the price ranging from $40.00 to $130.00, depending on how much attention is required. Appointments are not usually necessary, but be prepared to leave the bike with them for a day or two, a little longer during their busier times. If you’re like me and find that you experience a little carpal tunnel tingling from the pressure of your hands on the handlebars, talk to the staff at the bike shop. They can adjust the bars and show you gloves that are cushioned with gel pads to relieve that pressure.
Last, but definitely not least…helmets need to be thoroughly inspected for any cracks, dents or foam breakdown. Experts tell us to replace them every three years, or anytime that helmet has been involved in a crash, whether it was on your head or not. A properly fitting helmet that offers plenty of ventilation can be a bit of an investment, but considering what it’s protecting, it’s money well spent.
Now that you’ve completed your bicycle maintenance get on that bike, enjoy the fresh air and exercise and have fun!