You’re registered for Storming of Thunder Ridge. You’re training and logging miles. But is your bike ready?
John Seiner, owner of Bikes Unlimited in Downtown Lynchburg and a sponsor of Storming of Thunder Ridge, offers these tips to help ensure a successful ride:
Make sure you’re comfortable. If your neck, shoulders or back are sore while riding, your bike may need fit adjustments.
Check your tires and wheels. Tires should not be threadbare or have any gashes. If you’re planning on riding a hybrid or mountain bike, consider installing slick (not knobby) tires. It’s critical that tires be properly inflated (it’s on the sidewall of the tire) to roll efficiently and prevent pinch flats. Also, when you spin your wheel, it should be wobble-free.
Brakes should firmly engage and bring you to a quick stop. Make sure the pads are not dry-rotted and that the grooves are free of dirt or gravel.
Shifting should be crisp. If there is hesitation or, worse, if you’re dropping your chain, your derailleurs likely need to be adjusted.
Listen for any rattles or squeaks. Aside from being annoying, these are telltale signs that your drive-train needs to be lubricated or working parts need tightening.
If you are not comfortable doing your own maintenance, Seiner recommends taking your bike into a shop. Be sure to tell them you’re riding in an event and need the bike ready for the ride.
Lastly, John suggests that if you plan to take your bike to a shop for repair, do it at least a week before the event. Why? Spring is a busy time for bike mechanics. Plus, you should get in some rides after your get it back to get used to any changes or adjustments.
Oh, and be sure to come back after the event and tell your mechanic about your ride!