I've been counting the days for the time when I can pull my ivory bike out of storage and add more miles. Living right on the West Side highway is an ideal location to bike ride – a designated biking path, views of the Hudson River dotted with white sails and vistas of New Jersey and the George Washington Bridge.
Last year I got my first adult sized bicycle and was absolutely thrilled! Last summer and fall, pedaled to Soho for work, rode along the West Side Highway all the way up to Central Park for picnics and stuffed my whicker baskets with flowers, fresh produce and delicious baked goods from the Union Square Farmers Market. I can't wait to do all that and more this year!
As it has been a few months since my ivory bullet has seen the light of day, it is time for a tune-up, a preparation for the oh-so-many miles I’ll be pedaling.
1. Dust if off: As with any machine, a thorough cleaning prolongs its life and allows it to function to its utmost potential. Using an old rag and some watered down soap, clean everything from the frame, handlebars, seat, brakes, pedals and basket. Use a degreaser to clean chain and gears.
2. Grease lightnin’: Apply bicycle chain lubricant to the chain and gears for a quiet ride and smooth gear shift.
3. Hold your horses: For a cautious rider like myself, brakes are a vital component to my ride. So, it is imperative to test out the brake system by checking the brake pads as they may need to be replaced if they are looking too worn down. You should also test the brake lever on your handlebars.
4. Wheels: Fill your tires up with air, making sure that there are no holes or punctures. Elevate one end of the bike and spin the wheel – the wheel should spin smoothly, without any wobbles or loose ends. Repeat with the other wheel.
5. The Engine: Most importantly, you need to inspect the bikes engine – its gear system – to make sure that all is in order. Raise the rear wheel and spin it while shifting through the gears. The shifting should be easy and smooth.
Ready to put the pedal to the medal and hit the bike path (or the famers market)! Don’t forget a helmet!!!