How to get your bike ready for a Summer of Cycling
Tips from Colin Henrys via Road Cycling UK plus Revolights’ guide to summer gear essentials.
1. Clean the bike
Photograph by Kyle T. Webster
A clean bike is a fast bike, and one of the first jobs on your pre-summer checklist should be to give your bike a good clean, whether it’s been in use over winter or just coming back out of the shed for the first time this year.
Standing your bike upright (or, better still, using a work stand), rinse the bike to get rid of any loose dirt and then use a cleaning agent to work away any more stubborn much with a sponge and warm water. Next up clean the drivetrain and then take to the wheels, paying particular attention to the cassette and brake track. Rinse again with clean water, dry the bike with a clean rag and re-lube the chain and your tired-looking bike will be well on the way to looking like a new machine.
2. Inspect, clean and lubricate the drivetrain
The drivetrain is the mechanical heart of your machine, and the area of the bike which needs particular care and attention – not just at the start of the season but through the year.
When cleaning the bike, it is the drivetrain which is going to swallow up most of your time. A chain cleaner can save time, while if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty then you can use a rag to wipe away the buildup of dirt and grime on your chain, derailleurs, jockey wheels and chainrings, before setting to them with a degreaser and stiff brush (an old toothbrush will work).
Once everything is sparkling clean, rinse away with fresh water and dry with a clean cloth. Then select a lube suitable for summer riding, apply to the chain and enjoy hit the road safe in the knowledge that you’ll have a clean, quiet and free-running drivetrain!
3. Check your wheels
Check the spokes to ensure they are correctly tensioned and replace any where necessary. Also check that the wheel is true. It should spin freely without any side-to-side movement.
Needless to say, you should ensure your quick release skewers and tight and in good working order, but also that the hubs spin smoothly.
4. Check your tyres
As the only contact point between your bike and the road, you need to ensure your tyres are in top condition and up to the job in hand.
You should regularly inspect your tyres for damage or debris which could compromise the safety of your ride of increase the chances of a puncture, and check the pressure.
Remove any surface debris by spinning the wheel and lightly applying a gloved hand, and inspect the sidewalls and rolling surface for cuts. It’s a five-minute job which will help you spot any damage at home with a workstand, track pump and spares to hand, rather than at the side of the road with a puncture.
5. Check the brakes/cables
We don’t need to state the importance of ensuring that your brakes are well maintained so use this opportunity to check the cables and pads.
With the wheel off the ground, spin it and pull the brakes – it should lock immediately. Check the pads are making contact with either side of the rim at the same time and that they’re wearing at an even rate, and that they don’t need replacing. If you haven’t already checked the rim for wear, then now’s the time.
Check that the brake lever is not ‘sticky’ and that the cables have enough tension in them. If you’re giving your bike its first service in a while, it’s worth checking all cables, not just the brake cables, and ensuring they are in good conditions.
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to checking and replacing cables. Replacing a worn brake cable is an important task to prevent lasting damage to the shifter, as it can otherwise place additional strain on the internal mechanism, and a cable that splits can be extremely difficult to remove.
Revolights’ Guide to Summer Gear Essentials
Once your bicycle is all tuned up, make sure you have all the gear you’ll need for those summer rides!
One of our favorite new bicycle accessories is the Finn smartphone mount by Bike Citizens. Finn securely mounts your smartphone to any handlebar so you’ll be able to easily see your phone whether it’s for checking your ride data to getting turn-by-turn map directions. Finn's simple, yet sturdy design is as universal as it gets and withstands whatever you can throw at it.
With the sun setting later in the summer it’s easy to forget about bike lights and you don’t want to be caught in the dark without proper visibility.
The CPSC indicates an estimated 70% of nighttime car on bike collisions can be attributed to a lack of visibility from the side. That statistic is noteworthy, as side visibility is something that is not tackled by traditional bike lights.
Unlike traditional spotlight style lights, Revolights' patented design creates a dramatic increase in visibility for cyclists and is the only 360º bicycle lighting solution that provides a legal headlight, functional brake light, and unmatched side visibility. Revolights' patented design creates a dramatic increase in visibility for cyclists and is the only 360º bicycle lighting solution that provides a legal headlight, functional brake light, and unmatched side visibility.
Now that you’re all set for summer, share photos from your rides with us on Instagram and Twitter by using #RevoSighting!