Faster, Lighter, Longer Lasting
No matter what type of riding you do, chances are at least one of those words is probably in your cycling parlance. Of course, at Bicycle Sport, we like to plug “safer” and “more comfortable” in there, too, but that makes for an awfully crowded headline. But whether you’re of the hardcore hammering ilk, or you prefer a casual roll along the greenway, there are some super-simple ways to get more from your ride – and your bike – with very little effort!
Your chain may be the most overlooked and under appreciated part on the bike. The single-speed beach cruiser, the daily commuter, to the top-end custom race rig all are all relegated to coasting should your chain snap. And yes, a clean, well-cared-for chain spins up and shifts more quickly, and extends the life of your cassette and chainrings. Save power, time, AND money with this one. HOW OFTEN: 2,000 – 3,000 miles, or at least once a year.
Get a Grip
Or bar tape. Just because your grips or bar tape “look” pretty good doesn’t mean they’re still all that. Foams, corks, gels, and other squishy materials lose their capacity to bounce back over time – and after exposure to weather, sweat, and pressure. Bar tape and grips come in different density, texture, and of course, colors, so it’s easy to dial in a look and feel that suits your riding style and personality. HOW OFTEN: Signs of wear, loss of comfort, or as often as you like!
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
All tires are not created equally, and choosing the right tire for your riding style and riding surface can make a big difference in comfort, control, and speed. Tread pattern, tire width and air pressure also impact how the bike reacts to the road surface. And UNUSED tires are also suspect for replacement. Look for cracks in the tire surface and sidewall. HOW OFTEN: Flat spots, a series of flats, worn tread or knobs are all signs it’s time for new tires.
No matter the weather, hydration plays a big role in performance and comfort on the bike, and recovery afterward. Water is great, and most of us don’t get enough. Adding an electrolyte replacement product will help you get the most from the liquids you do take in along the ride and after you’re off the bike. Mind the sweet stuff, however. Some “sports drinks” contain more sugars than sodas or kids’ cereal. HOW OFTEN: One to two, 20 ounce bottles per hour is a good starting point to staying hydrated on the bike.
Put a Lid On It
You’ve only got one brain, and bicycle helmet technology has come a long way toward keeping your melon in tact – and allowing for unprecedented light weight, comfort and aerodynamics. Proper fit is essential to getting the most impact protection from your bike helmet. Sweat, weather, and time all work to erode the efficacy of your helmet, so routine replacement is necessary. HOW OFTEN: Every 2-3 years, or immediately after impact from a fall or crash.