you know it’s time to replace your tires when…
• The rubber looks cracked
• The treads are worn down
• There is visible damage to the tire
• You’ve gotten several flats in a short period of time
PSI stands for Pounds per Square Inch and is a unit of measurement for pressure. When pumping up the air in your tires, most tires will indicate a range of PSI best suited for your bike. Stick to the lower end of the scale if you’re into mountain biking – a bit of a softer tire will help keep you upright on loose gravel and unpredictable terrain. If you’re planning on hitting the road, a higher PSI will encourage your tires to roll over the pavement more efficiently – ain’t no one gonna catch you now!
a well-oiled machine
One of the most surprising things I learned was how often I should be cleaning, degreasing and lubing my bike – turns out I’ve been neglecting her… A LOT. For the average commuter you should degrease and lube up your ride once a week (or whenever the chains start to look black and gucky).
degreaser – think of it like shampoo. Degreaser is for cleaning all the darkness and build up that occurs on your chains. Spray the degreaser over the length of the chain, pedaling through a few times to allow it to soak into the links. Wipe clean with an old rag and a bit of clean water.
lube – your lube is like your conditioner and is to be used after you degrease your bike (and once it’s completely dry). When it comes to lube a little goes a long way – just let a few drops trickle over the chain and pedal through about two times. Voila! Easy as pie.
other things every bike owner should know:
• do not lubricate your brakes. Ever.
• do not use WD40 on your chain.
• the minute you feel like you have to tug on your brakes a lot or they are making a weird sound, bring your bike into the shop immediately! This is not something you can wait on – it’s very serious!
• Get your bike tuned up once a year. Just like going to the doctor, it’s something you should just do on an annual basis.
Pedal on, people – happy riding!