For those of us that live in places where winter weather really is horrible and really does drive us off our bikes at times, things are beginning to get exciting. The birds are singing, the plants are reviving and there is certain background warmth starting to appear. Yes Spring is here and it is time to make sure you and your pride and joy are ready for it.
All of you who put your bikes up for the winter will, of course, have made sure you put them away in good state. The chain will already be lubed, the battery will be fully charged and been on a trickle charger and it was certainly clean and dry before it went into hibernation…so I won’t need to mention any of those things will I?
There are a couple of things to check out however before you hit the road for the first ride in a long time:
Brakes, do they work or have they seized up over the layoff? It is always best to check that they are not sticking on, the most likely fault, and definitely check they are not sticking off! If they are sticky then get them sorted. If you know how to do it all well and good but I am not going to start explaining how to strip and rebuild brakes here…I don’t want a lawsuit if someone cocks it up!
If your brakes look like this they won't work....
they should be attached to the bike!
Check that your fork seals are not leaking; in the past I have had it happen that even the act of taking the bike off the stand after winter can pop them. I guess it might be temperature affecting them or lubrication, but in my experience if they are going to be a weakness it will show up fairly early on after a layup.
This is bad. Yep, they have stolen your motorcycle
and replaced it with a mountain bike!
It might also be an idea to check that your riding kit still fits you. It has been a long winter and if you are anything like me you have probably been into body building…..beer, cake, steaks etc are really good at building bodies! If you do find that your kit has shrunk think of this as god’s way of telling you to go to the bike shop and buy some more.
"Seems sluggish compared to last year"
Then there are the most important things of all to dust off and get ready; the excuses to give your nearest and dearest when you want to go for a ride. I always find it is best to get back into the swing of things with the easy to believe ones, such as “ I am glad I can ride again, it will save on the petrol bills going to work” and that classic “I am just going to test that adjustment I made” . Then you can try out those that might need a bit more skill and acting ability and research, such as developing an unhealthy interest in local politics so you can use the “ I am just going to vote” excuse or if you are really desperate “ Take it easy dear, I will pop down the shops for you and get you some …….” . That last one takes a real master; after all it means you actually have to be paying attention to what your other half is saying in order to use it!
Oh well time to go and wash the bike….so I can take it for a spin to dry it off.