Winter Tune Up (Part I)


Winter has arrived. The rain has started. These past 2 weeks I have been preparing the bike and my wet weather clothing for 5-6 months of wetter, cooler weather.

This time of year, I ride the commuter more often than the road bikes – the Roberts and Garneau. They will get a spin but only on dry days. I’ll commute and train on the Kuwahara most of the time for the next several months.

The Kuwahara gets the most wear and tear. I commute to the office on it most of the year and save the good road bikes for training and longer rides. As a result, it needed work. A new freewheel and chain. New, smaller profile, lighter weight tires. New brake pads. I also decided to put on a new set of wheels. This wasn’t necessary but the old ones were mismatched and one of the rims was beginning to show a lot of wear. I purchased a new set of 26″ wheels with lighter, stronger, double-walled aluminum rims and 36-hole hubs with larger flanges.

This was Winter Tune-up weekend. I installed and tuned all of the new parts. The bike rides like new. Better than new. The wheels are lighter and faster, particularly with the smaller tires. The new freewheel and chain make the biggest difference. The bike feels more responsive. And, the brakes are positive.

Now that daylight savings has arrived there is much less daylight. It is often dark when I leave in the morning and return in the evening. I pulled out the lights and fully charged the batteries. A necessity this time of year.

The bike is ready for the winter. Finely tuned. Tiptop and rolling like new. Even better. Every time I re-work a bike, I upgrade the parts. Better quality freewheel, chain, tires and wheels. It won’t ride or perform like the road bikes but it will be faster, more reliable and, fun.

Next, how to stay warm and dry.