Wednesday, February 10, 2010

FreeWheel: Get the bike ready!

Previously: Video of route presentation available here.

Upcoming: FreeWheel training rides begin March 13 at 10AM in Mohawk Park. The initial ride will be 5 miles.

Tom Brown, owner of Tom's Bicycles, presented last night's seminar on bike repair and maintenance, most of it aimed at inexperienced riders. He highly recommended a road bike for the tour, though people do complete it on mountain bikes. Road bikes offer more hand positions and therefore greater comfort on a long day's ride. Proper bike fit is essential.

Tom covered the ABC Quick Check.
A - Air. Tires should be rock hard. Check wheels and hubs too. Feel for any sideplay in the hubs and inspect the tires, looking for bulges, cuts, or debris.
B - Brakes. When applied, there should be a thumbs width of clearance between the lever and handlebar. This is a good way to see that your brake quick release is closed.
C - Crank and Chain. Check for sideplay. With your hand, turn the pedals backward. Look and listen for any damaged or tight chain links. Pay special attention to any that may have a side plate popping off.
Quick releases - note that there's an open/closed lable on the lever. Get in the habit of putting the quick release levers in the same position all the time so you can see at a glance that they are closed.
Twist handlebars to see that they're tight in the fork.

Tom demonstrated how to fix a flat, except for the essential part about re-filling the tire with air. He forgot to bring a pump! The assembled group found this highly amusing. He noted that three bike shops drive the route, so if anyone needs assistance it will be somewhere nearby.

With a bike in his repair stand, Tom demonstrated how bicycle gearing works and described the basic concepts of cadence. He also covered the differences between traditonal pedals and clipless pedals, highlighting the advantages of clipless units.

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