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7 Ways to Get Ready for Spring on your Bike
Brighter evenings and warming temperatures means the beginning of enjoyable cycling for the year. Here are a few tips to get you motivated and ready to enjoy the onset of spring cycling.
GET YOUR BIKE SPRING READY
So it is that time of year again; time to dust off the bike that has been hibernating all winter. Have your bike cleaned and checked to make sure it is running smoothly for the season ahead. If you are a good mechanic you can do this yourself, otherwise bring it to your local bike shop for an annual service. Do this early in the season to avoid the rush!
Here is a small checklist of items to check: Strip the bike frame, clean it in warm, soapy water and then wax it. Make sure to clean and grease the bottom bracket, headset and hubs. Check spokes and true the wheel. Look to see if your tyres and tubes need to be replaced. Clean, lubricate and adjust derailleurs and replace the chain and cassette as needed. Clean, oil and adjust the brakes and replace brakepads if worn. Inspect cables to see if any need to be replaced. Check, clean and oil your pedals. Removable mud guards are useful this time of year and can be quickly added to your bike.
CHECK YOUR GEAR
This is the time to check to make sure you have spare tubes and a puncture repair kit. Prepare a small first aid and check to see that your tool kit has eveything you need for an emergency. Check your bike pump. Is your helmet in top shape. If it shows signs of wear and tear or cracks, it is time to replace it. Check to make sure you can be seen on the road: check to make sure your lights are working, front and back.
It is often the wind that makes you feel cold, so invest in windproof outer layers. Always carry a spare layer in case you stop biking for any reason ~ a thin, lightweight, windproof jacket that you can stick in your pocket is perfect and will add extra protection against the wind. Layers can include a light, merino wool or synthetic vest or base; a long sleeved mid-layer topped with a light fleece or weather resistant softshell. Finally a windproof outer layer ~ bike jackets usually taper into a long tail with a back pocket to carry small items. Check for reflective strips and try to wear high visibility coloured outer layers at all times. Tip: Warm up your clothes on a radiator before heading out ~ this can create a more pleasurable experience!
FINGERS AND TOES
While there is still a chill in the air, a good pair of long fingered winter biking gloves are a good idea to have. Make sure these are not tto bulky so you can still control your gears and brakes. As the weather warms, these can be replaced with fingerless gloves. A good pair of fine wool socks will keep you warm. If using regular, flat pedals, a strong pair of walking shoes can be replaced with lighter runners as the weather warms. SPD bike shoes can be kept warm and dry with waterproof bike overshoes. Wear a buff inside your helmet to keep your head warm.
FOOD FOR THE ROAD
Try to alwasy carry a bottle and feed your thirst. When the weather is still chilly or windy, carry an insulated bottle that allows you carry hot drinks that still help to prevent dehydration and maintin your body temperature. As the weather warms, hots drinks can be replaced with lots of water. If you carry a camelbak or bladder pack, rinse it well and ensure there are no leaks before you head out.
Carry small snacks for the road. A packet of fruit and nut mix, trail mix or dried fruit help to fule your energy. A couple of cereal or granola bars will provide the energy burst you need and help to keeo you warm.
SET YOUR GOALS
Try to schedule at least one weekly bike ride. It is often more difficult to this on your own, so try to bike with a friend or a local bike club or group. This is a great time of year to get back on your bike, when roads and trails are quieter. Schedule a trip by the coast, for example, where rewards can be built into your trip: great scenery, hot coffee stops, lunch as a treat, with seafood chowder by a warm fire or a stop into a small art gallery on the route. Mix it up! At the end of the ride, you should feel a sense of achievement and a boost of endorphins that encourage you to plan the next bike ride!
Set a target and build up your distance. Take part in a local 5k or 10 k ride and build up to greater goals. Before you know it, you will be ready for a 40 or 75k and finally, perhaps your first century ride! Every ride out is a step closer to that goal.
Keep pedalling and stay inspired ~ keep a biking journal and record your bike rides, distances, most favourite sights along the way. Try to absorb some of the scenery, local places, flowers, birds, beaches along the way. This makes for a more interesting day out.
It won’t be long before you are pedalling into long summer evenings, healthier and fitter than ever before.