Your two-wheeler needs a tune-up before you hit the pathways. How much can you do yourself and when should you take your bike to the shop? Depends on your bike, equipment and know-how, but here’s a rough guide.
Complete bike tune-up
You’ll need a rag, brush, biodegradable cleanser and degreaser to get your bike gleaming. Grease the seat post and cables, and lubricate the chain.
Is it rusty, stiff or broken? Replace it.
Inspect the tires for cracks, splits and wear, and check the inner tube for slow leaks by submerging it in water and looking for bubbles. Patch or replace if necessary and inflate to the optimal pressure.
Brake pads should be wearing evenly. If they’re angled, ridged or worn to the metal, replace them. If you’re nervous about messing with the parts of your bike that make it stop, take it to a repair shop.
Do the wheels wobble when you spin them? You’ll need a truing stand to remedy this, so it’s probably a job for a bike mechanic.
Turn the pedals and shift through the gears. Is the chain failing to catch the sprockets? Is the derailleur jammed? Unless you have serious bike-repair chops, take it to a shop.
Spring pathway conditions
Your bike is now in top condition, but the pathway may not be. Spring run-off can create icy patches or flooding at this time of year, so plan your route. The City of Calgary provides information about pathway closures, plus maps of designated bike routes and the pathway system. You can also find forums on Bike Calgary dedicated to pathway conditions across the city.
Where to get a tune-up
Shops that can help you get your bike road-ready.
N.E.: Calgary Cycle
Watch for Joe’s Garage, a mobile bike repair shop that pops up just east of the 10th Street LRT bridge on the Bow River pathway each summer from April until October.