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Friday, May 11, 2018

Tune up your bicycle

Laura Lukye, AHS
Laura Lukye, Alberta Health Services - The spring season is a great time to think about getting active outdoors more often. This is the perfect opportunity to hit the road (or trail) on your bike. But before we jump into the saddle and peddle away, we need to ensure we are safe for the road. 

First step to get that bike back on the road is get it out of storage, dust off the cobwebs and start an at-home bike check: 
  • Tire check: Look to see if the tires are worn down or bald (no treads left). Make sure the sides of your tires are not fraying, and that there are no slits or holes in them. Replace your tires if you see these problems. Assess the air pressure inside the tires. Squeeze the tires; they should feel rock-hard. If they’re squishy, use a pump and a gauge to inflate tires to their recommended pressure. 
  • Chain: Make sure the chain is tight on the bike, not sagging or loose. You will probably need to grease the chain. How to do it: Clean the chain with a rag, and then apply a lube that contains Teflon. Don’t use WD-40—it’s not made for bikes. 
  • Brakes: Super important to make sure your brakes are working. Squeeze each brake lever—there should be more than an inch of space between the brake lever and the handlebar when you squeeze. If your brake levers touch your grips, your brakes need to be tightened. When you release the levers, both sides of the brake should return equally. If one side of the brake rubs against the rim, your brakes need to be adjusted. 
These are just some at-home maintenance tips and if you do not like to get your hands dirty, or if you find an issue that you cannot handle, make an appointment with your local bike shop. 

Now that your bike is tuned up and ready to take off, remember how important it is to wear the right gear - and that means a helmet.

First get an approved helmet and that fits your head properly. All helmets should be certified by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

Did you know it’s the law in Alberta that riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet? Never, ever buy a second-hand helmet - and all helmets need to be replaced after a crash or after five years.

If you would like more information on bike safety and proper helmet fitting click here. 

Laura Lukye is a Health Promotion Facilitator with Population Health. She can be reached by e-mail, laura.lukye@ahs.ca

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