By Sarah Seibold of Family Bike Shop, Crofton
1. Tune-up: If your bike was purchased one year, or more, ago you should seriously think about getting your bike tuned-up. A tune-up includes adjustments on the brakes, gears, bearing surfaces, and wheels. A tune-up will keep your investment running smoothly and can discover potential problems before they become dangerous, and expensive. The best part is that most bike shops provide free tune-ups on bikes purchased at that location.
2. Tires: It’s always a good idea to pump up your tires each time before you ride. This will improve your ride efficiency and decrease the chance of getting a flat. If your tire isn’t holding air, you may need to repair, or replace, the inner tube. Check the sidewall of the tire for the maximum P.S.I.
3. Helmet: Possibly the most important cycling accessory, the helmet is recommended for the entire family. Actually, Maryland state law requires children age16 and under to wear a helmet. These days, helmets are attractive, comfortable, and even adjustable… a worthwhile investment. If accidents were expected, they wouldn’t be called accidents!
4. Clothing: There’s actually a good reason why cyclists wear that odd-looking synthetic clothing: It dries quickly, and the padded shorts provide extra comfort and prevent chafing in your nether regions. Proper cycling gloves are important too. Gloves not only provide you with comfort and shock-absorption, they improve grip control, wick away moisture, and provide skin protection as well.
5. Water & Food: Keeping hydrated is extremely important. A rule of thumb is to drink water, or a sport beverage, often and before you are thirsty to avoid dehydration. When cycling, at the least bring along a snack such as a protein bar, or if you’re going for a day trip pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a great family day together.