Now that the better weather is here and you've got more outdoor leisure activities on your to-do list, it's time to 'spring' your bike out of storage.
Ideally, you stored your bike away from moisture and off the ground. Do a visual inspection, then clean your bike with a sponge and mild soap in warm water.
While experts recommend a professional tune-up at a local bike shop, here's a checklist to assess your bike's condition.
- Tires – Make sure they're pumped up enough and not flat; make sure treads are okay.
- Wheels – Make sure they don't have anything stuck in them such as leaves or sticks.
- Brakes – Check that they work by squeezing on the hand brakes and trying to move your bike forward (it shouldn't move).
- Chain – Inspect the chain for rust, then make sure it's around the crank and moves properly with the pedals.
- Seat – The position of the seat is most important; you should be able to place both feet firmly on the ground when you are not pedaling.
- Lights – Are reflectors and back and front lights working and in the proper positions? Replace batteries or charge them, if need be.
- Bell or horn – Your bike needs to be equipped with a noise maker of some sort.
- Panniers – If you do a lot of commuting, be sure your bike is equipped with panniers that you can pack full of school or work books, etc., as well as light groceries.
- Helmet – This is the most important piece of equipment that you wear. Be sure to have one!