by John Burgess
My bicycle has been leaned over in the garage since last September.
Two years ago I began riding my bike to work, starting in April, by joining our Bike to Work team and riding through Labor Day. I’m a fair-weather rider who's concerned with safety when riding at dusk, so I don’t ride in the fall or winter when the days are rainy and daylight short.
Here are five things to do when restarting your bike commute after taking the winter off.
Pump up your tires. Mine were flat after the winter. Look on the side of the tire to find the minimum and maximum air pressure needed.
Check your lights. Be sure they still put out maximum wattage and see if perhaps they need new batteries. I have flashing front and rear lights I use even when riding in daylight.
Take a test ride. This will tell you if you need a tuneup. The gears should shift smoothly and quietly. The brakes should stop you. If not, then it’s time for a tuneup at your local cycle shop.
Check the route you plan to ride to work. I’ve noticed along my route the city has improved some stretches of the dedicated bike lanes (more green boxes at intersections and stops). But there also are new construction areas along the route where bikes must merge with traffic.
Refresh your gear. Make sure your helmet still fits snugly. I got new riding gloves for Christmas so I recycled my old ones. Consider adding something to make your commute more comfortable. I added a rack and saddlebags last year because I didn’t like wearing a backpack, especially on those long uphills going home.
Now it’s time to pull my bike out, get it ready to roll, and start riding to work again – on the nicer days.