A Tune-Up for the Cycling Community
With Snowmageddon behind us, New Englanders have not only earned their way to an enjoyable spring, but also their rights to bike their hearts out. Bicyclists are beginning to pop up on the roads alongside the runners training for the Boston Marathon and people happy to just be able to take a leisurely walk.
Bicycles have a special place, wherever in the world you happen to be, as the most efficient transportation vehicle. While competetive bikes can have very sophisticated engineering, in their simplest form, bikes are made up of a handlebar, saddle, front and rear derailleur, pedals, brake levers, brake cables, and tires, among other components. And where cars, airplanes, and trains gobble up non-renewable energy such as petroleum, gasoline, or diesel, bicycles use the power of kinetic energy without creating pollution. Bicycles are used for maintaining physical fitness, recreationaly, for commuting to work, or competitively. Whatever your reason to ride, it is important to give this versatile machine a thorough tune-up on a regular basis, especially before embarking on your first spring ride.
Even though there are different types of bicycles with different functions—including mountain bikes, BMX bikes, dirt jumpers, off-the-shelf, and custom-build bicycles—they all have similar bicycle parts and accessories that are contributing to the speed, safety, comfort, and endurance of the bicycle. So selecting the right material for bicycle parts and accessories is critical to balancing the factors mentioned before. A small part like bicycle cable clamps or guides that are used to securely house the bicycle cables to the frame provides support to the braking mechanism. There are many bicycle cable clamps available on the market. Properly installing the right one makes a huge difference for proper upkeep and the smooth functioning of your bike.
Below are some basic maintenance tips that can help improve bicycle efficiency while maximizing its safety:
- Clean your bicycle to extend the life of all its component
- Inspect your brake system, including brake pads, lever, handlebar, and cables for possible wear and tear
- Inspect your bicycle rims for nicks, scrapes, dents, or other damages, as they can cause uneven wear to tires and brake pads—creating a potentially dangerous situation
- Check tires for split, cracks or tears, and air-pressure, as damaged tires are prone to burst, causing a sudden loss of control
- Inspect the drive-train: that includes the pedals, chain, chain-ring, derailleur, and rear wheel cassette for excessive wear, missing teeth, dents, scrapes, rust, etc.
- Inspect the cables connecting the shifters and brakes on the handlebars to the derailleur and brake pads for improper housing, cracks, crimps, rust, dirt, and looseness, as it can lead to sluggish shifting, chafing of crossed-cables on the front-end, and poor braking in general
- Apply oil lubricant to the chain and other components of the drive-train to reduce dirt and grime, and increase performance of the moving parts
Some sobering statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reiterate the need for cyclists to make safety a priority. Did you know?
- Almost nine in 10 (88%) bicyclists are killed when involved in accidents on the road
- Most bicyclist fatalities occur between 4 p.m. and midnight
- One in four bicyclists (24%) who died in crashes had blood alcohol concentrations of .08 grams per deciliter or higher (from a July 2014 report), the illegal alcohol level in all states
Avoid becoming one of these statistics by following the simple safety precautions issued by NHTSA. Click below to access the “Seven Smart Routes to Bicycle Safety” from the NHTSA.