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Basic bike maintenance goes a long way
Spring is the busy season for bicycle mechanics

Danielle Sachs
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, May 3, 2012

As soon as the temperature rises above zero, for some people the urge to grab the bike out of storage becomes unbearable.

NNSL photo/graphic

Bike department manager Bill Hill checks over the wheels on a new bike at Overlander Sports on Wednesday. - Danielle Sachs/NNSL photo

But there a few things to keep in mind before that first ride of the season.

Denver Styan and Bill Hill from Overlander Sports have a few tips to consider before hitting the streets.

They stress the importance of making sure the bike is properly tuned up and cleaned.

"You need a basic tune-up every year," said Hill. "In some ways, it's no different than having work done on your car."

A basic tune-up will ensure everything is working on the bike and there aren't any larger problems brewing.

"If you leave something to wear down, it can impact other parts on the bike," said Hill.

"When you buy a nicer bike you want to keep it safe," said Styan. "If you don't check it out, things can just fall off."

The two have been busy tuning, repairing and building bikes for a few weeks now constantly spinning wheels to check their alignment, tightening bolts, checking the brakes and tire inflation.

"If there are no major issues the bike is usually ready the same day," said Styan.

That can change quickly if there are parts that need to be replaced. Hill said if they don't have the part in stock it can take two to three weeks, depending on where it needs to be shipped from.

While the cycling season is still new, Styan and Hill are booked until the end of May.

"It's always crazy this time of year, I try to encourage people to bring their bikes in during the winter," said Hill.

Tune-ups can be done year round with the bike being put back into storage until the season begins. There are also a few classes available where people can learn basic do-it-yourself maintenance, including how to change a flat tire.

"There's a high demand for it this year," said Hill.

Hill and Styan have a mental checklist of everything that needs to be looked at when a bike is brought in. "We check all the bolts, adjust the gears and brakes. We basically make sure everything is OK and fix it if it isn't," said Styan.

"We tell everyone the same thing," said Hill. "If anything doesn't feel or look right, bring it in."

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