Tag Archives: #wisewednesday

Bike Storage: Preparation Check List and Options For Your Bicycle

Jess Leong, HaveFunBiking.com

Unless you are using your bike this upcoming winter, then preparing for bike storage is one thing that should be on your list of things-to-do this fall. Doing it now will save you time come early spring when you just want to grab those handlebars and get out there on the road and trail. Plus, proper storage means extending the longevity of your bike – and who wouldn’t want that? If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it is that bikes are not cheap. That’s why bike storage is so important.

1. Secure a Bike Storage Location

Some stores offer bike storage with fall winterizing/tune-up at their shop.

Some stores offer bike storage that is included with the price of a fall winterizing/tune-up at their shop.

Whether the location is a place in your basement, in your garage, or somewhere else that allows the bike to take shelter from the snow, make sure there’s enough room for your bike. Not sure where to put the bike for the winter? There are many bike shops that will store the bike for you. Though it does come at a cost it may be included in a fall winterizing/tune-up fee. Letting your bike sit outside is tempting and easy, but can cause problems come spring. These problems may need more maintenance to repair. Or, in most cases, causes the frame to rust (whether internally or externally). That longevity we mentioned? Rust and maintenance issues are some ways to really cut down that lifespan of your bike.

Tip: If possible, hang your bike to save some space on the ground.

2. Frame Care: Brushing and Wiping it Down

Note that it says ‘wiping it down’ and not ‘spraying’. Spraying your bike down with a hose can cause water to get into unprotected parts of the bike. This stray water can cause rusting of some metal components. Some wonder how this can be when we sometimes ride our bikes in the rain. In the event of spraying, the water can enter in from other angles (with more force mind you) and therefore the moisture can get into parts that it might not have during a normal rainy day. And yes, rain on the bike – without proper care – can also cause the bike to rust! However, just because you’re not ‘watering it down’ with a hose doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean it carefully before storage. How do you do this? By using good old fashioned elbow grease and by taking a soft-bristled brush to the frame and wheels.

Some experts recommend moving the brush in a circular pattern for optimal cleaning ability. Honestly this can be done in any way including a simple back and forth scrubbing motion. The purpose of the brush is to remove any and all debris that has made the bike their home. That dried mud, stuck-on grass, any dust, all of that should be brushed off as much as you can.

Then, once you’ve gone over the bike, take a damp rag and wipe down the entire bike. This wipe down will remove anything that is still stuck onto the bike.

3. Before Bike Storage Look Over the Frame for Problems

If you have room in your garage for bike storage by hanging bikes above your car, this will conserve space.

If you have room in your garage for bike storage by hanging bikes above your car, this will conserve space.

It’s important to check your bike for structural integrity and this can be done while cleaning, or after you brush and wipe down your wheels. Are there any cracks? Any parts in the frame that’s bent in a way that it shouldn’t be, or looks suspicious? Pay special attention to the spots where the metal connects (welded areas) and the bottom bracket. These areas undergo the majority of the stress when out biking and should be checked carefully. The last thing you want is for the bike to come apart when you take it for a spin.

4. Tire Care: Inflation, Cleaning, and Inspection

Remember to fully inflate your tires and do a check to ensure the tire integrity is still intact. Are there any cuts in the sidewall or tire punctures that might have escaped your notice? If that’s in the clear, check out the spokes of your tire visually. Check to see if any of them look broken or loose. Nothing? Then, take the wheel and give it a gentle spin while watching the spokes and wheel. Make sure the wheel isn’t wobbling or spinning at an angle.

Is there anything wrong with the brake pads? Are they still in good shape and working condition? They shouldn’t be rubbing up against the wheel, be at an angle away from the tires, nor should they be loose. If your brake pad is looking worn down, it’s time to get it changed. Something you don’t want to forget about over the long winter months ahead, especially when a spring ride pops up.

Once everything looks good, give the tire a good wipe down to clean any debris that might be on it before bike storage.

5. Drivetrain Care: Cleaning and Lubrication

It’s time to get down and dirty by cleaning the cassette, crank, and the chain of your bike. Admittedly, this is probably one of the least glamorous parts of cleaning your bike due to the grease, but it’s something that is really important. After all, this is what helps you propel your bike forward to that #nextbikeadventure. Properly cleaning and lubricating these three items, and making sure there’s no leftover debris or major wear, will help keep rust away and keep you safe.

Reminder: According to Brad, from One Ten Cycles, a chain should be changed when it looks worn or if you have ridden with it for two to three thousand miles. It is at that point when the chain begins to stretch, though this can vary person to person. How fast the chain ‘stretches’ and needs replacing will depends on your riding pattern (recreational biking, mountain biking, etc), how well it’s been taken care of, and how often it’s cleaned. While some people will continue to ride well past the time of when the chain should be changed, Brad noted that the wear pattern of the chain will eventually transfer to the cassette. If the cassette is worn down, it can cause issues when putting on a new chain (to the point that you may have to replace both the chain and cassette together).

Unsure if your chain is worn? The only reliable way to check is with a chain checker gauge (generally a $8 tool) to measure the stretch of the chain. It will gauge when it’s time to replace it before causing wear on the cassette.

6. Cable Care: Inspection and Lubrication

Did you know cables can rust too? Just like the rest of the bike, these need to be inspected for frays or other potential problems to keep you bike rides safe. If nothing seems frayed then you can go ahead and lubricate the cables. This is important to prevent rust from forming on them and weakening the cables. To apply the lubrication, add some lubricant to a rag – only a little is needed at first – and rub it into the exposed cable, rubbing back and forth to ensure that the lubricant gets in throughout the cable and isn’t just on the surface.

Reminder: If your cables are fraying, you can try to repair the cables – particularly if it’s at the end of the cable. If it’s really bad or you’re unable to do it yourself, you can bring in your bicycle to your favorite bike shop and they would be happy to help you out before bike storage!

7. (Optional) Handgrips and Saddle: Wipe it Down and Replace if Desired

This is more for aesthetics rather than functionality. Looking over and cleaning the handgrips and saddle seat now can make it more exciting to ride in the spring. If your saddle seat or grips have a tear and you’d like to replace them, now is the time to do so.  You don’t want to get caught up trying to do that when you just want to get out there and ride in the spring.

8. Remove Batteries Before Bike Storage

Anything that has batteries should be removed to make sure leakage doesn’t affect your bike or the area where the bike is stored. This means taking out the batteries (or lights) of flashers, front/back lights, headlights, and the like.

If the battery is not able to be removed easily or without assistance, make sure the battery is fully charged before placing it in that storage location mentioned at the beginning!

9. Clearing Out Bike Bags and Holders

Make sure you’re checking those panniers and trunk bags thoroughly to ensure they are

When preparing for bike storage you cant easily remove the battery, like this e-Bike, make sure the battery is fully charged and check every couple months.

When preparing for bike storage you cant easily remove the battery, like this e-Bike, make sure the battery is fully charged and check every couple months.

cleared out, clean and ready to go into storage. Finding a moldy sandwich or leftover snack from last year that bugs and mice are munching on might put a cramp on the start of your next ride season, after finding that. Also, remember to remove the water bottles from your bike, wash them out properly and put them away. We can guarantee that the water won’t be so inviting by the next time you ride!

This might take some time, but it is time that is well invested. You’ll pat yourself on the back once the weather warms up next spring, begging you to get out there and HaveFunBiking.

Jess Leong is a writer for HaveFunBiking.com.

How to Find a Local Bike Shop that’s Perfect for You

Finding a Local Bike Shop with a Good Vibe to Fit Your Style

by Jess Leong, HaveFunBiking.com

Trying to find a local bike shop can seem daunting and more work than it’s worth. However, a great local shop that fits your needs can be invaluable as time goes on. When trying to find the right shop you need to consider what you value most. Is it a knowledgeable staff person, a great selection, great or quick service, or etc?

A friendly bike shop store front that invites you in.

Friendly bike shop store front, showing accessibility and community involvement, is like a welcome mat inviting you in.

Everyone, from beginners to experienced cyclists, can find that choosing a bike shop can be a tough decision, especially with many shops in a given area. While confident and knowledgeable staff members are important – we all want advice from experts who know what they are talking about. But other factors should also be considered.

Stepping into a bike shop can be overwhelming, but it is a necessity to find the right fit for you.

Key Factors to Consider When Checking Out a Bike Shop:

Knowledgeable Staff

Knowledgeable staff members that can give reliable advice and speak in a way that you can understand is key. If they are using words that may be unfamiliar to you or are not willing to clearly explain it, this might not be the shop for you. They should know what they’re talking about. If they don’t know the answer, they should be willing to find the answer out for you. Even experts can get stumped on good questions!

Friendly and Reliable Staff

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Knowledgeable bike shop staff, not afraid to do a little research for you, is the key to a great experience.

Expect friendly and reliable staff members at the shop you visit. You should feel comfortable approaching and asking all of your biking questions – no matter how stupid you might think a question is. (There is no such thing as a ‘stupid question.’ So, feel free to ask away!) Additionally, these staff members should be people you can rely on for your biking needs. If they aren’t focused on what you’re there for and are pushing products at you that you don’t really need, then this can be a deal breaker. You want people – at least a mechanic – who love and understand bikes. After all, you need to feel comfortable in entrusting them with your wheels.

Product Options

A decent range of products should be within the shop, unless they are a specialty shop. You want to have options and be able to look at different items and products within the shop so you can find the best fit for you – if you need it.

A good bike shop will have a large assortment of cycling accessories and other essentials to make your #nextbikeadventure memorable.

Most bike shops have a large assortment of accessories and essentials to make your #nextbikeadventure memorable.

A good bike shop will have a large assortment of cycling accessories and other essentials to make your #nextbikeadventure memorable.

Quick or Reasonable Repair Timeline

Having a bike shop mechanic who is knowledgeable and enjoys his work is an added plus.

Having a bike shop mechanic who is knowledgeable and enjoys his work is an added plus.

When a problem arises with your bike, you want it repaired in a quick manner so we could get out riding again, as soon as possible. No one wants to wait weeks for their bike to be repaired. A quick, or at least reasonable, repair time might be what’s most important for you. 

Shop Hours that Work for You

Reasonable hours that work for your schedule is something you can easily find out without ever going to the store. Today, you can look up stores online to find their hours and see if it will work for you.

Some bike shops are open only on the weekend, others are open from early morning and close by 5 p.m. or earlier, and yet others might be open late into the evening. Depending on what works for your schedule, this can help eliminate potential bike shops. If you have a job from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, a bike shop that is only open during the weekday during that period of time might not be the best fit.

Customer Satisfaction

A good shop will check in with the rider and ask them asking how they are. If a relationship is built they will ask about a product the rider might have bought. If a mistake occurs, the shop will work with the rider to try to correct it, or apologize.

It is important to note that while a bike shop might be perfect for one person, it may not be the ideal bike shop for another. While many bike shops have knowledge of different types of biking styles, some will have more specific knowledge of a particular type. In other words, every bike stop has different vibe and it just depends whether or not it suits you.

Tip: To save time, many riders would suggest checking on websites that rate bike shops to find ratings of their service, what they may offer, and if they are worth looking into.

Don’t lose heart, if after researching the first bike shop you discover it isn’t ideal for you, visit the next one. Many times, riders need to visit several shops, and sometimes go through a service or two, before finding the perfect fit for them.

Finding the shop that is best suited for you might take some time, and that’s okay. It’s worth it because if you ever have questions or your bike needs repair, they got your back. Plus, it ensures good service and fewer problems in the future.

Did your favorite bike shop make America’s Best Bike Shop list?

The National Bicycle Dealers Association has recently published its 2016 list of America’s Best Bike Shops. Retailers who made the cut this year not only offer great shopping experiences and expert staff, but are also rated on dedication to their communities and support for bicycle advocacy locally and nationally. See here if your bike shop made the cut.

In Review

Less hassle, better vibes is something we can all get behind. Happy shopping!

Jess Leong is a writer for HaveFunBiking.com.

Bike Pic Oct 12, Things Not to Do Biking on Wise Wednesday

Things not to do while biking on #Wise Wednesday or any other day of the week.  Here in this photo we caught a young lad turned around doing everything he shouldn’t  do, making his bicycle ride unsafe (the rider is OK, he did miss the car!).

With the leaves turning and perfect weather biking weather we hope you get out on your bike and enjoy a fall riding possibilities in Minnesota. See all the bike friendly places to explore in the new Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide

Thanks for viewing the Wise Wednesday Bike Pic of the Day. 

Now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While showcasing all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more place to have fun we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing the guide.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. And don’t forget to smile, while you are riding and having fun. We may capture you in one of our next photos that we post daily.

Have a great day!

Clean biking gloves are essential before storage to extend there life for your next riding season.

Clean Biking Gloves and the Disgusting Things That Get on Them

by Jess Leong, HaveFunBiking.com

As you enjoy the fresh fall air while you ride, we hope you have clean biking gloves!

With Fall officially here and some of the best biking ahead, with colorful scenery and mild temperatures, many people are thinking about winter storage preparations. While bike

Clean biking gloves are essential so they are not gross or smelly.

Clean biking gloves are essential so they are not gross or smelly.

maintenance is an important thing to do before storage, taking care of your cycling gear is just as essential especially if things are a bit smelly. Specially bike gloves, which should be cleaned periodically throughout the season,  so they aren’t foul and disgusting.

Not everyone realizes that their riding gloves should be washed occasionally – this includes gloves that have leather or a material that may not seem like it is ‘machine washable’.

Why Clean Biking Gloves?

Clean biking gloves do more than just grip those handlebars better or reduce vibrations while riding. They also absorb all the sweat and skin cells that come from a rider’s hands. The sweat and skin cells can eventually build up within the gloves and make them smell due to the growth of various bacteria. Therefore, taking care of cycling gloves is something that everyone should do.

When riding, whether racing or for recreation, biking gloves can become quite dirty, stinky and bacteria ridden.

What gets on Typical Biking Gloves?

Here is an assortment of clean biking gloves you may have that should be washed periodically to eliminate odors.

Here is an assortment of clean biking gloves you may have that should be washed periodically to eliminate odors.

Dirt, Grease, and Bacteria

Let’s start with the most obvious one. Dirt and bacteria. When a rider puts on their gloves it isn’t likely that they will be taking it off anytime soon. Even if they stop for a drink, you’ll generally find gloves still securely on the rider’s hands. Your hands touch a lot of objects and whatever you can usually find on your hand when out and about, it’s likely to be on your gloves.

Dirt and general bacteria from the great outdoors isn’t the only thing that might end up on gloves. Many riders also use their gloves to rub at chain ring tattoos. Therefore, grease can also adhere to the gloves and be transferred on the handlebars or penetrate into the gloves. For information about how to avoid and deal with grease marks, we have an article that covers that so hopefully grease – on a general outing – won’t be on your gloves.

Additionally, bacteria can come from when riders may cough into their gloves. This means that saliva can also get on the outside of the gloves and stay there.

Sweat

Another obvious offender is sweat. The cycling gloves help ensure a good and tight grip on the handlebars so the rider always has control of their bicycle. Without gloves, sweat can make handlebars slick. This decreases the degree of safety a rider can have while doing serious biking. The gloves absorb the sweat into the material so it doesn’t cause a problem or irritate the rider as they continue on their journey.

Since the material is easily accessible, as it is on a rider’s hands, riders also tend to use the gloves to wipe sweat from their faces. So while sweat may be in the interior, it also tends to be on the outside as well.

Dead Skin Cells

We continuously lose skin cells, but a moist glove gathers those skin cells since there is no place for them to go. This can eventually cake the inside of the gloves. While it may not be obvious, can make the material stiffer and make the material inside less comfortable.

Snot

When listing off what can be on biking gloves, snot is not something that readily comes to mind. Why should it? It definitely isn’t pleasing to think about, and definitely makes many people cringe. However, when someone is biking, sweat and a runny nose that comes from exertion, in any weather, can happen.  Unable to reach for a tissue or blow their nose, many riders use their gloves or sleeves to quickly deal with a dripping nose.

Sweat makes the interior and exterior of the gloves moist. When gloves are placed in darkness, it becomes the ultimate breeding ground for bacteria to quickly multiply. This creates the smell that gloves can emit. If not taken care of properly over time, the smell can be difficult to remove.

So before you dig into your bike bag for a pair of gloves or borrow someone else’s, remember this. You never know what another person’s biking gloves have been through. It also means that washing your own biking gloves should be seen as a regular practice rather than only washing them once during the biking season.

Learn how to clean your gloves – no matter what material – by looking at our easy step-by-step article.

Jess Leong is a writer for HaveFunBiking.com.