March 11, 2018

Didn't I JUST write a post like this?

If you're like me ....and if you are, get some help....  the cycling seasons probably start running together as the years pile on from a maintenance perspective (hopefully, not an enjoyment perspective).  This is just a part of getting older, and doesn't really apply directly to anything specific; certainly not cycling.  If you're under age 35 you likely have no idea what I'm talking about.  If you don't have kids, you'll have absolutely no idea.  If you're in your mid-20's, for gawdsake why are you reading this website??  Go have a pint or four, watch GCN on your VR goggles, and, if it's before noon, go back to bed.  Okay, just kidding... if you're actually reading this, hats off, and thank you.  I'm not REALLY a prick... just when it comes to climbing.  

...What'r we talking about?  

OH... (see.  see what just happened there?  I'm getting OLD.)
That's my point here... not only do we old Freds start to lose our train of thought too quickly, time - for us - also starts to compress a bit.  Think of these examples, friends:

"I just got this shirt!" he exclaimed, offended, when someone mentions their decade-old shirt and general sense of style might warrant a visit to the Goodwill bin.

"But, I just got this lawn mower!" he exclaimed, when the lawn mower he swore he just bought craps-out the spring after it's 20th winter being stored outdoors.

On cycling... 

"But, I just got these chainrings!" he exclaims, after the chain keeps skipping and he then checks his mileage log and realizes he "just got them" four-score and 20,000 miles ago.  

This is usually followed by a sheepish "Oh...", and some acceptance.  Hopefully.

When it comes to things like routine maintenance on a bicycle, everything sneaks up on us.  Especially if we invest in good parts which don't require hardly ANY periodic adjustments, we can often forget they're there.  But, this is sometimes what lurks in the shadows or in the roadside ditch, waiting to jump up and grab us - usually during an event for which we've been training.

Don't let this be you!

This doesn't have to mean a bunch of money, of course.  As winter turns to spring, this just invites the chance to "make sure" as you move around your bicycle.  Check your headset.  How do your cables look and feel?  When did you install that cable housing, really?  Are your rims okay?  Go around the bike with a set of Allen wrenches and give things a quick snug.  Torque wrench?  Even better!  Are those the same tires from last year's SR-series and summer of commutes?  

Are you really still wearing those socks?  (ok, this isn't that big of a deal -- but have you shopped socks lately?  Dude.)  It is, however, fashion... and I think there's some adaptation of one of the Rules which might advise that if you can't be fast, at least look good trying.  
I might be making that up.   (You've read the Rules, right?)

Neon socks AND a reflective stripe?  OMG YES. 
Wait.... "look GOOD"... I'm not sure this qualifies.
I only "look good" while cycling every 10-15 years, when the fashion
happens to come back around to whatever I happen to already own.

All of these things are important, and certainly not limited to the items I've mentioned above.  Definitely check all your wear items, maybe re-tape your bars, and if you have any doubts about ANY of it - or, doubts about your own garage skills, give your local shop a visit.  

For when something DOES go wrong, however, perhaps the best thing you can have are your spares.  Spares, however, usually live WAY out of sight and mind - right up until you need them.

Your seatbag... framebag, whatever these kids today are running ... the place where you keep your tubes (or plugs and patches?) ... your tire boots, small dropper of lube, extra energy gel, .... are they all dried out, stuck together, and utterly useless if you'd happen to need 'em?

Well, this is the time to get in there and see what's happened to the contents of your repair kit over the last season and subsequent winter.  Even if you rode throughout the winter, chance are some of these items didn't like it much.  Even if you're running tubeless, there are special considerations you likely already know to stay atop, like refreshing your sealant -- but, that "just in case" tube you should be carrying might be a rotted and useless hunk of vaporized butyl-powder at this point.  This is the time to make sure you'd don't have to make any embarrassing phone calls or rack up $70 in Uber charges if things go sideways this spring on the roads.  

Check your wheels.  Oh, and the ones on your bike, too, probably.

SO, yeah... make yourself a list and check everything twice.
Fender and rack bolts... if that's your thing.
Check your wheels for any truing issues or sidewall wear... unless you run disc brakes, and then you should check your rotors for wear and swap out your pads.
When's the last time you re-packed your pedal bearings?  (wait, that's a thing?)

Yeah, this isn't an exhaustive list, but you get the idea... you want to be riding for the ride, not the amazing opportunity to exercise your roadside resourcefulness.  Well, unless you're into that kind of thing.  

That's your post for this week... while I can't guarantee I'll be on here any more often than usual, this blog is still very much alive .... if not completely irrelevant to most modern cyclists; unless you ride to work, still happen to like steel frames, own several neon vests, prefer non-GPS cycling computers, rim brakes, tubes, fenders, and riding long distances at a moderate pace with no real training benefit.  

After all, I just did a race... didn't I?  

Um, no, dude... you didn't.

Thanks for reading!

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