so winter is pretty much over in Syracuse (did it ever really start?) here are a few basic things you can do to get your salt-crusted & rusted commuter bike back up to muster.
- wash it. pretty self explanatory. use a mild detergent diluted in a bucket of water. don’t worry, you won’t damage anything.
- clean the drivetrain. most important is degreasing and re-lubricating the chain. if it’s rusted beyond flexibility, it’s time time for a new chain altogether. also, it’s a good idea to wipe the gloop and schmutz (very technical terms, eh?) from the chainrings and derailleur pulleys.
- replace brake pads. check to see if they’re worn. if they’re still useable, use a fine-grit sandpaper to get rid of any metal flakes embedded in the braking surface and wipe down the brake track on the rims with a damp cloth. no brakes cuz sw8 fixay-skidz bro? make sure your chain isn’t stretched (use a Park CC-3.2 or similar), chain tension is good, rear tire still has tread, toe clips/straps aren’t about to break, and put some tape/grips on your bars for all our sakes.
- replace brake/shift cables & housing. cables are key to smooth shifting and braking. as cables stretch and the factory lubricant wears away over time, both will become harder. just replace ‘em if there’s any doubt.
- keep fenders on. summer comes and people start removing fenders from their bikes en masse. don’t. didn’t have fenders in the first place? get some, they’re great!
so there you go, five ways to make your bike happy (or at least suck less). now get out and ride safe!