It’s sunny, it’s warm, and the new season is about to start. What have you been doing this winter? Are you ready? Here are three tips to get in gear for spring cycling and to make the new riding season highly enjoyable.
Tip #1 – Tune-up
The first place to start is by making sure your bike is properly tuned up. A simple eyeball and drop test will tell you if it’s time to have your bike professionally serviced. For the eyeball test, look to see if the derailleurs, drive train, and brake systems have accumulated a lot of buildup. Cleaning and lubing the bike will make a world of difference in how it performs. For the drop test, lift your bike four or five inches off the ground and drop it on the tires. If you hear a lot of clanging when it hits the ground, that means some of the parts are loose and it’s definitely time for a tune-up.
To get your bike road ready, Higher Gear offers the following types of tune-up services:
- Race Check: Includes a full review of the bike, checking and adjusting the brakes and gears, and fully lubing the bike. No wash included.
- Standard Tune-up: Includes wheel truing, checking and adjusting the brakes and gears, removing everything that touches the chain (e.g., cogs, derailleurs, crank, chains, etc.), making necessary adjustments, and completely washing the bike.
- Deluxe Tune-up: Includes everything in the standard tune-up, as well as full removal of the drive train, cleaning it in a solvent tank, and a bottom bracket overhaul.
Tip #2 – New Wheelset
Another way to prepare for the spring riding season is to upgrade your wheelset. While a new set of wheels might not change your life, the difference it makes is remarkable. That’s because wheel technology continually progresses, which in turn improves cycling performance. For instance, rotational weight advancements help you climb and accelerate better. In addition, bearings and hubs in many aftermarket wheels are superior to those that come standard with new bikes. The minor change of upgrading your wheels not only makes a major improvement in the quality of your ride, but it’s also considerably less than a new bike altogether.
Higher Gear offers such leading brands as Easton, Mavic, and Reynolds wheelsets for you to consider. One model that we’re particularly excited about is the Easton EA90 SLX. Perfect for any ride or race, the EA90 SLX features all the dependability and durability that are the hallmarks of Easton products, as well as a featherweight design. Wicked light at just 1.398 grams, these wheels are 61 grams lighter than the previous model.
Tip #3 – Mindful Riding
There’s nothing more discouraging than realizing in March how much your speed has fallen from your peak last July and August, unless of course you’ve been training on CompuTrainers all winter and you’re eager to find out how you’ve improved on the open road. Spring is the time to determine your goals for the new season and build your training plan around them:
– Adding cycling to your workout routine at least twice a week? Check our calendar for our weekly rides. And ladies, check out our Women Cycling Program.
– Planning to do a supported ride or a charity ride? The MS 150 Tour de Farms is June 23 and the Wrigley Field Road Tour is August 19. In addition, there are many supported rides throughout the state of Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
– Road racing or cyclocross? Check Chicago Bike Racing, Wisconsin Cycling Association, or Michigan Bicycling Association for the full calendar. Our calendars will also be featuring the races that our team members will be participating in. This year again, we will be participating in the Cyclocross Series in the fall — but we won’t talk about it until September. 😉
Tell us your goals and your plans, and we’ll add it to Higher Gear’s calendar so other Higher Gearheads can find you.
Also, consider getting up to speed with coached CompuTrainer sessions, which are challenging intervals that push your maximum threshold and thereby improve your cardiovascular capacity, your RPM levels, and ultimately your power output. Productive intervals are challenging to execute around Chicagoland, so keep CompuTraining in mind. Learn more about the benefits of CompuTraining.
These three tips should have you ready for a great spring. Stop by either Higher Gear location, and we’ll be happy to talk more in-depth on any of these options. Have a great season!