The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

April 3, 2014

Spring tuneup: Bicycle experts offer tips to get rides road-ready

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Homeowners do spring cleaning. Gardeners do spring planting. Families, local bike shop owners say, should make it a point to do bike maintenance.

"Many casual riders have had their bikes in their garage or shed for most of the winter, and with the riding season upon us this is the time you want to get them out and take some simple steps to get them ready to ride safely and efficiently," said Roger Lomshek, owner of Tailwind Cyclists in Pittsburg.

 

Tires

Air up tires using a pressure gauge to verify the amount of air going into the tires. Most adult bikes take 40 to 60 psi, and most youth bikes take 30 to 45 psi. The recommended pressure is printed on the sides of tires.

"The general rule is the bigger you are, the more pressure you need up to the maximum. The more pressure, the easier the bike rides," Lomshek said.

Debbie Johnson, owner of Bicycle Specialists in Joplin, advised looking for cracks in the tires.

"Dry rot will occur after a couple of years, depending on how a bike is stored. The rubber will deteriorate," Johnson said.

 

Chains

"They're usually bone dry and need some type of lubricant," Lomshek said. "Your instinct might be to reach for WD-40, which is a great rust penetrator, but doesn't serve as a lubricant because it evaporates."

Instead, use a lubricant such as Tri-Flow.

"It can be a two-person job, with one moving the pedals while the other applies the lubricant and uses a rag to catch the overspray," Lomshek said.

Johnson also recommends checking a bike's chain at least once a year to make sure it's not stretched, a service her shop offers at no charge.

"We have a tool we use to show the customer if they need a replacement. If it's stretched, it changes the shape of all the other components, so investing in a $15 to $20 chain is much less expensive than waiting until it creates a problem with more expensive parts down the line," Johnson said.

 

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