Spring Ride Checklist

It's time to get ready to ride outside
 

 
Now that winter is finally over (fingers crossed!), the snow is quickly disappearing and the temperatures are on their way up, it's time to get ready to take the bikes off the trainers and get them outside. To help you make sure you've got it all covered, we put together our pre-ride "to do" list.
 
 

1.  Repair Kit

Check your repair kit and make sure it's still complete.  You'll need one or two tubes, an inflation kit (CO2 set up or mini-pump), patch kit, tire levers (optional for some of you).

 

 

2.  Safety lights - Make Sure You're Seen

Little LED lights with on/off and flashing modes are great safety indicators for everyday riding and especially now, early in the ride season when vehicles aren't used to seeing us on the road.  Look for white lights for the front of your bike, red for the rear.  These lights aren't intended to be bright enough to illuminate the road for darker light conditions. They are just intended to be make sure we're visible on the road. One word of caution or consideration:  if you are riding in a group, you don't want to set your rear light to flash like a strobe light at your favourite night club in consideration of the other riders in your group.

3.   Tires - Make Sure They Are Road-Worthy

If you've had a trainer tire on your bike, make sure you swap it out for a regular road tire.  If you have been riding your old road tire from last season, check it for wear before you take it on the road.  While the trainer might seem to be as hard on your tire as Edmonton's pot-hole ridden roads, there can still wear from all that friction and heat from your trainer.  

4.  Helmet

First off, I always have to find mine but after about a 6 month break, you should check it out.  Most helmet manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every 2 to 3 years even if there are no obvious signs of impact.  Bonding between the shell and the foam can break down over time and may reduce the helmet's ability to protect you when you need it.  If you can't remember the last time you replaced it, it might be time to consider a new lid.

5. Road ID

We never want to think it's going to happen to us but we all know someone who's been in a serious enough bike accident that they needed someone to speak for them. You can update your Road ID for any new or changing medical information, emergency contacts and even vacation location updates.  You can order Road ID online - all the info is on the brochure here at Element where you can also test drive their most popular styles before you order. If you've already got one, it's time to dig it out of storage.

6.  Tune Up Time

Either you've been riding or you haven't. In either case, a clean up and tune up is in order.  If you haven't been riding, a tune up will clear off all the fresh dust and cobwebs and get rid of the dirt and guck from last fall's rides.  If you've been riding your bike hard on the trainer, you've been sweating hard and, while you've wiped up the top tube a few times, your drive train wants some love too.  And you also might need to consider a different type of lube for early season riding if there is still some moisture on the roads.  We'll help you get your ride ready.

7.   AMA Membership

Yes, AMA's Bike Assist is part of every membership package and it can provide roadside assistance for its members when they are out on a bike ride.  And they claim that Bike Assist calls receive the same priority as Roadside Assistance calls.  AMA's Bike Assist can help you fix a flat (they have air to spare!), tighten loose parts and provide minor assistance and even transport you and your bike home or to your bike shop.  Make sure to add the AMA app to your phone if you are a member.  You can read the details about AMA Bike Assist here.

8.  Ride Gear

     

You'll need to gear up for cooler weather riding.  Check where you left off last fall to see if your gear is still in good shape and replace what needs to be retired. Here are some basics you need to consider:

Jacket or vest.  Look for water resistant and wind resistant pieces and look for a few different weights.  You might want to start with something a little warmer this month and save the light weight ones for next month.

Armwarmers, knee warmers, leg warmers are all great pieces to keep around if you don't have a lot of long-sleeved jerseys and long cycling tights.  My challenge is always trying to find both pieces of a set.  Some things never change!

Booties or shoe covers.  Keeping your feet warm and dry can make all the difference. If my feet get cold, I will not be happy!

Long fingered gloves. Again, my challenge will be to find a matching pair. Not sure where they all go!

Base layer pieces.  Now is the time to add a warmer base layer piece underneath your jacket or jersey.  You might have something from your winter run wardrobe that will work well enough but a cycling base layer piece with a windstopper front will always be a useful piece.

Helmet liner or headband to keep your head and ears warm. 

 

9.    Eye wear

I never ride outside without eye protection but in the early spring when there is still a lot of dust and debris on the roads, it's even more important to make sure your eyes are covered and protected.  

 

10.  Go out and ride already!

Weather permitting, we're ready to ride!  See you out there.