Autumn Gear Guide
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Show a little TLC to the one you love this Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and you know what that means. It’s the one day of the year to put a few hours aside, spend a little extra cash, and really show some affection for the one you love: your bicycle.
While the snow, ice, and slush may still rest heavy on the streets in a few places, for others the signs of spring are already showing. So what better time to wipe off the dirt and grime from winter and give your bike a little TLC. Light the candles and crack open the Cab Sav, we’ve put together a handy list of easy, do-it-yourself ideas to show your bicycle the love it deserves this Valentine’s Day.
We’re all guilty of this, myself included. Daily riding on wet winter streets and the general crush for time that comes with being an adult means that sometimes, you just let dirt and grime build up on your bike. Before you know it, your bike is filthy and so are your floors. Take a rag, a bucket of warm soapy water, a bristle brush or toothbrush, and give your bicycle a sponge bath. Make sure you get into all the little nooks and crannies, paying special attention to the chain and gears, but also get at the less mechanical areas you normally forget about, such as the pedals, rims, spokes, and upper frame.
Rain and snow are not friends of the moving parts of a bicycle, and winter can leave your bike looking and feeling a little rusty if you’re not careful. Brighten its spirits with a little lubrication. Apply a healthy dose of lube to the freshly-cleaned chain, switching through the entire range of gears as you do so to make sure the cogs feels the love as well. Wipe off any excess lube with the rag. If you’re really feeling affectionate, you can also take your brake cables out, clean them, and re-grease them.
Are your brake pads nearly non-existent? Has you derailleur been making intermittent clicking and grinding sounds that you’ve been casually ignoring? Now is the time to let your bicycle know that you are actually listening, and you really do care. Stop ignoring the parts of your bike that are slowly eroding under the weight of your relationship, and fix the damn thing. Help it, so it can help you. Maybe you have the mechanical inclination to fix everything yourself, or maybe it’s time to finally bite the bullet and take it into the shop. Either way, having your bike fine-tuned and in good working order will mean a better spring for both of you.
You love your bike, and you love everything it allows you to do in your life. It works, it looks great, it has all the appropriate bells and whistles you need to get you through your day. But maybe it’s not always about what you need, sometimes it’s about what you want. Treat your yourself to a little luxury by buying your bike a present this Valentine’s Day. Get that beautiful hand-painted bell you’ve had your eye on, or that leather 6-pack holder for your frame. Or maybe your saddle is just fine, but wouldn’t a more comfortable one be fantastic? After all, it’s Valentine’s Day, it’s all for the love of your bike.
Hilary Angus is the Online Editor at Momentum Mag. @HilaryAngus