As the weather starts to improve, Bikmo, our official cycle insurance provider, shares their top checks to get your bikes ready for spring and summer.
It can be difficult to decide whether to keep mudguards on in spring, with the sun shining you want your bike to be looking it’s best so you might be tempted to take them off, however, mudguards are still an important accessory. If you haven’t already experienced showers on your commute, make sure your bike is equipped with some mudguards before you do.
To get the best of both worlds, we recommend investing in some clip-on mudguards, so you can check the forecast and make the decision on the day rather than faffing around with tools while you’re rushed for time.
2. Checking Tyres
Commuter bikes normally stay on 25mm tyres all year round. If you run one particular tyre, check for wear and look out for if there are any cuts in the tyre wall or cracks on the main outside body of a tyre as these could lead to future punctures. If there seems to be a lot of wear it’s wise to look at getting it changed as soon as possible as not only will it puncture easily, it won’t provide a great deal of grip either.
If you don’t often check your brakes, now is a good time as all the grit and mud from the winter months will have worn your brake pads down. This may be a good opportunity to completely remove them and give them a good scrub with soapy water as things can easily get stuck in them too. If you run on hydraulic brakes, you should consider giving them a good bleed. But if you don’t feel like making a mess of your living room or patio (if you have ever tried bleeding brakes yourself, you know it can get really messy real quick), make an appointment at your local bike shop, they will be happy to do the “dirty” work for you.
Over time any cable on a bike will stretch which is why it’s important to do some checks on your cables to make sure everything is working properly. You’ll look at your bike and see many cables and probably wonder what they all do if you’re new to cycling or haven’t checked them before. All visible cables will either be for your gears or brakes, and there are some simple checks which you can do to make sure they’re working correctly.
For your breaks, make sure you’re able to pull both brake levers without the levers hitting the handlebars. If they do hit your handlebar, or don't compress fully, then you’ll need to adjust them. We recommend taking your bike to a local bike shop so that you can get your brakes back to tip-top condition.
Your gears aren’t quite as straight-forward, so simply ride your bike changing through all the gears and if they’re not changing perfectly it’s likely the cable needs some adjustments. We often use our local bike shop with any gearing issues. Previous experience of ‘fixing’ these yourself can be endless torment, often ending with the gears still clunky and not shifting smoothly.
5. Drive Chain
This could be the first time your chain has seen some lubrication since last summer so check carefully for any defects in the chain. This could be a crack, a broken line or even a rough patch of rust which stops the chain from moving properly. You can use a proper chain cleaning product to remove old grease and grime before applying new lube to the chain, but soapy water will help remove a lot of grit and dirt. Grab a rag and a tough brush, or a toothbrush, apply plenty of chain cleaner/soapy water and scrub accordingly. Dry off with a rag before reapplying chain lube. Once dry apply lube followed by running the chain around a rag before re-applying again. Make sure your chain all flows correctly grabbing to each chainring tooth.
All the above coincide with a good wash. This should be a regular routine when aiming to keep your bike working like clockwork. If you’re apprehensive about any of the suggestions above, take your bike to your local bike shop and let them give it a once-over. If your bike looks and feels good it’ll bestow that confidence in your riding, making the whole experience a good one!
Bikmo cycle insurance is designed with commuters in mind. Their award-winning policy covers theft, accidental damage, vandalism, clothing, helmets and accessories, plus much more.
When you buy a new bike through Cyclescheme you’ll be able to activate 14 days free insurance with Bikmo so you can ride worry-free; you’ll also benefit from exclusive savings after the 14 days are over. Bikmo also offers an additional 25% reduction on your premium if you are insuring an e-bike.