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Spring Bike Check

With warmer weather on the horizon, it’s time to retrieve your family’s bikes from the shed and give them a spring spruce-up. Here is what you need to check so you can enjoy cycling with your family.

1. Start by putting together a small collection of the tools you’ll need such as; a pump compatible with the inner tubes on your bike, 4 and 5mm Allen keys, some bike oil and a rag. Then find somewhere spacious and bright so you can check and easily access all parts of your bike.

2. We’ll start at the front of the bike and work our way towards the back. The first thing to check is that the front wheel is secured properly with the quick release lever correctly fastened. The lever should offer enough resistance to leave a light mark on your hand when you close it. If your bike has bolts at the wheel hubs rather than a quick release, use your 5mm Allen key to make sure these are done up tightly.

3. Squeeze the front tyre to check that it is not soft or flat. If the tyre is soft then pump it up. If you don’t have a pressure gauge on your pump you can use feel. For general-use bikes, the tyre should feel similar to squeezing a firm orange. Road bike tyres should be firmer.

4. Lift the front of the bike and spin the front wheel to ensure it is running freely and not rubbing on the brake blocks. If it is rubbing, pull the lever a few times to centre the brakes. Check that both brake levers operate with a light and positive action.

5. Turn the handlebar from side to side to ensure that it moves freely. Now check the handlebar grips are in good condition and the ends are still intact. The grip ends are an important safety feature, so the grips should be replaced if they have any damage to them.

6. We will now lubricate the chain to make sure it is running smoothly. Slowly spin the cranks backwards and apply oil to the chain as it moves, being careful to avoid dripping any lubricant on the wheel’s braking surface. Then, using your rag, remove the excess oil by running the chain through it.

If you have an Islabike Cnoc with a fully enclosed chain, just pop the lube in through the small hole in the chain guard and rotate the pedals a few times.

7. As we did with the front wheel, check the rear quick release lever is correctly secured.

8. Also check the rear tyre pressure is sufficient in the same way as we checked the front. Inflate if necessary.

9. Lift the bike by the saddle to raise the rear wheel from the ground. Rotate the pedals to spin the rear wheel and check it is rotating freely.

10. Now wheel the bike forward and pull the brake levers to check the brakes stop the bike effectively.

11. For comfort on the bike and the best pedaling efficiency, the saddle height needs to be set correctly. If your child’s bike has been stored for a few months, it is likely the saddle will need raising. The rider should be able to get the balls of both feet on the floor when sitting on the saddle. Use the 4mm Allen key to loosen the bolt that allows you to adjust the saddle height. Once the saddle height has been set, retighten the bolt but take care not to do up too tightly as this may cause damage.

Be aware of the minimum insertion mark on the seatpost and never raise it beyond this. When your child has reached this point, it indicates they have reached the maximum adjustment with their current bike and they are ready for a bigger size.

12. Finally, if you feel unsure about anything here, please contact our tech support team on +44 (0)1584 856 881 or techsupport@islabikes.co.uk. Also, visit our Info Hub at www.islabikes.co.uk/info-hub, where you will find technical videos and further information for all cyclists.

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