Back in the Saddle

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Have you noticed how there is a spike in the number of people out and about on bicycles when the weather is nice? Perhaps you are even one of those people!

Keep you and your bike running smoothly with these tips from bike mechanic Adam from West End Bikes in Portland, Oregon and Gordon, owner of Lakeside Bikes in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

  • Get excited about your seat. A proper bike seat, or “saddle” is essential to a comfortable ride. Old saddles can lose cushioning and comfort and lead to soreness. Some bike shops, including West End Bikes, offer Body Geometry Fit services, a technology that helps determine what saddle will be comfortable for your body.


  • Pump it up! Tires lose air naturally, but that doesn’t mean the tubes are bad or that you need a full tune-up. Sometimes tires just need to be topped off with a little air. Many bike shops will help you pump your tires up for free.


  • Be aware of wear. Some parts of a bike have a set wear life.These parts include the chain, brake pad, and tires. As you put in the miles, they gradually wear out and need to be replaced. Many people can get between one thousand and two thousand miles on their bikes before then. But when they do need replacing, it’s important to act promptly. Otherwise you’ll run the risk of having to replace even more parts!


  • Shed the winter weight. Bike lubricants come in summer and winter weights. Winter weight lubrication is thicker than summer weight lubrication because winter bikers will typically run into more potentially damaging fluids on the road. 
    • How can I tell if my bike needs lubrication?
      • The pins in the center of the chain will turn a polished chrome color. When the chain is well lubed, the color is more similar to a matte gunmetal. If your bike is making a squeaky noise when you’re pedaling, that’s another sign it’s time to grab the lube. Lubricate your bike the night before you ride so the lubricant has time to penetrate. In the morning, wipe down the chain thoroughly. This gives the lubricant time to pull dirt from the chain.


  • Keep it loose. It’s common for hot-weather bikers to suffer from foot swelling. Prevent it by tying your shoes loosely and wearing breathable socks.


  • Slather it on. Sunscreen on the shoulders, nose, and ears might be common sense. But for folks without a lot of hair on their heads, it is also important to put sunscreen on the scalp. Most helmets have air holes that can make for interesting, not to mention painful, sunburns.


  • Prepare for the unexpected. Bring a repair kit on your rides. A good repair kit will include a spare tube, a multi-tool for emergency adjustments, and a flat tire repair kit. It’s also a good idea to tuck a couple extra dollars into your seat bag or pocket before hitting the road.


The best thing about biking isn’t how far or how fast you can go. It’s the experiences you have in the saddle. Biking gives you the opportunity to see things you’d normally pass right by in the car. It gives you the opportunity to feel the wind in your face and the sun on your back. It gives you the opportunity to feel alive!

alessandra-caretto-625053-unsplashPhoto by Alessandra Caretta

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