Vital information for ensuring you are ride ready. Your ride will thank you.
Drive Train (chain rings, chain, cassette, front and rear derailleur)
- Clean weekly or after a wet ride.
- Clean drive train using degreaser; avoid placing degreaser in contact with axels or bottom bracket where bearings are.
- Rinse bike down with warm water and dish soap or bike soap; rinse again with water only.
- Lubricate chain; best done after a ride so bike can sit to absorb lube into joints — 12 or 15 drops spaced on the chain.
All Fasteners: (Allen bolts or screws): Check monthly or after transporting your bike.
Brake Pads: Check for wear once a month (each has wear-indicator grooves).
Brake Cables: Ensure they are operating properly; have them checked annually.
Chain: Replace every 2,500km (a stretched chain loses its pulling capabilities on cassette/chain ring and can damage them with improper wear).
Tires: Replace every 3,000km, switch front and back every 1,500 km.
Tools to Own and Items to Have:
- Pump (small one to ride with and perhaps a floor pump with pressure gauge to prepare bike before rides).
- Bike bag on your bike that includes an extra tire, three tire-changing levers, patches, multi-tool (Allen keys, wrench, spoke wrench), money, and identification.
Parking Lot Practice
If you are relatively new to road biking, or have just bought a new bike, we highly recommend visiting a local parking lot to practise your skills. Here are some drills you can do:
- Slalom riding using anything available, such as the parking lines, to go wide and then narrow.
- Braking. Do so with increasing quickness to simulate various situations.
- Gear changing. See how smoothly and quickly you can change gears.
- Practice shoulder checks, U-turns, and mounting/dismounting.
- Always carry a tool kit, cell phone, and identification.
- Obey the traffic laws and always signal.
- Ride predictably (avoid weaving) and defensively.
- If a manoeuvre is dependent upon a particular vehicle, make eye contact with the driver before committing to the move.
- Look ahead for obstacles; anticipate the road ahead.
- You may ride 1m from curb legally; this keeps you clear of drains and refuse.
- When making a left turn, position yourself in the middle of the turn lane.
- Take care when passing slowed traffic on the right — drivers won't expect you.
- Have your hands near your brake levers if there is any possibility of having to stop.
- When approaching a parked car, look through the rear window to see if there are any passengers inside who may open a door.
- Cross rail tracks and grates with care, angling your approach if required.
Riding with a Group
- Be aware of all surroundings and share non-obvious information with the group.
- Consider yourselves to be more of a team than a group; work together.
- Know your average speed for the distance of the ride so you can match up appropriately with others.
- Six to twelve is the ideal number for a group, smaller for less experienced riders.
- Hands should be near brakes whenever in a pack.
- Call out non-obvious risks such as parked cars and cars at stop signs ahead when the group is slowing/stopping/turning.
- Point out and call out obstacles such as pot holes or glass that are best avoided.
- Make small moves to avoid obstacles; sudden/dramatic weaving is dangerous.
- Front riders must be aware of back riders on hills and at stop signs; keep the group together.
- Don’t take the lead/pull unless offered it, but do share the work.
- If you are going to drop off of the back of the group, tell others so they know and don't worry.
Helmet: Make sure your helmet is CSA approved to provide the safety it is principally designed for. Then it's mostly about comfort — find one that fits well and has enough vents to keep you cool.
Shoes: Firstly, you can use your running shoes; no rules against that at all. The advantage of a stiff-soled cycling shoe over a running shoe is that it increases the amount of power transfer from your push to the pedal, resulting in less wasted energy. As far as cycling shoes go, as with any form of footwear, comfort is number one — make sure they fit well and provide sufficient support to your feet.
Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from both the sun and flying objects such as bugs.
Water Bottle: Dehydration is extremely dangerous; carry water and sip regularly.
Tool Kit: Technical problems can mean a long walk home unless you have a tool kit that includes materials to change a flat and do basic mechanical repairs.
Cycle Computer: It helps you to monitor your training and racing by telling you speed, distance, and time.