Monday, March 12, 2012

Time To Ride

I did not feel that the administration of George W. Bush accomplished much that was positive in the area of national energy policy, other than to assure that we would continue be locked into an oil-based economy for a longer time, him being somewhat of a Texan and all, and in league with folks like Halliburton. I will say that I am thankful to W for one thing, though, and that is the extension of daylight savings time. I've heard the sad tales of children huddling at their bus stops in the dark and cold pre-dawn hours and I'm not too crazy about rolling out of bed in the dark myself; however, it is a SO worth it because it means an extra hour on the bike with no headlights required! I'm already looking forward to sweat-soaked bibs, 9:00 dinners, bug-coated legs, and oven-hot pavement, but before we get into the full-on summer mode, we get to enjoy a few weeks of conditions that we can call perfect. That means that the bike needs to be road-ready. If you've been riding through the winter and know everything works OK, at least clean your bike and take a few minutes to take a close look at your tires, cable ends, wheels and frame. Replace worn tires and chain if needed, clean and lube cables, and wrap the bars if your tape is looking nappy.

Freshly wrapped bars spruce up your cockpit. White tape is passe and black is all the rage in the ProTour these days. Of course, my bars were also black when white was totally in vogue.

I like to do most of my own work, but if you're not comfortable doing so, call up your favorite local shop to make an appointment for a bike tune-up. It's a little about safety and a lot about convenience and pleasure. It's no fun to ride a creaky, poorly shifting bike and it's even less fun to be stranded on the side of the road with a mechanical. I called three local shops, Spokes, Chainwheel, and Arkansas Cycling and Fitness, and found that a "tune-up" can cover a wide range of services from simple safety check with brake and derailleur cable adjustments to a complete bike tear-down and overhaul. Prices ranged from $40-110.00 depending on the level of service and type of bike. Expect to pay $60-80.00 to have cables adjusted, wheels trued, bearing preload adjusted, cables cleaned and lubed, etc. Right now, those shops have a backlog ranging from 2 days to a week, so plan ahead. Spokes's policy is to turn bikes around in 48 hours unless parts have to be ordered or there are other extraordinary circumstances. Those are only shops I called, but we got a door-hanger  today that included $20.00 off coupon for a "Spring Bike Cleaning and Tune-up" from J&P Bike Shop in Sherwood, and any of the other fine shops in town can provide that service. In fact, if you're at a shop not mentioned here, feel free to post your tune-up deal in the comments.
Take the time to get your bike ready for the season and, while you're at it, feel free to engage in a little retail therapy at the bike shop. Hmmm...I'd get the full season out of some new bibs if I shop now.....


Peter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The American automobile driver has "locked us Into" an oil based economy. Of course! It's great when uncle Sam invests in "green" Solyndra.