The arrival of the spring equinox is a surefire signal that it’s time to dust off those bicycles that have been cooped up in storage all winter long. Riding a bike sparks a certain excitement that nothing else can. I mean, really—don’t we all remember the first time we rode our very own bike solo? Mine was a beauty with a delightful butterfly strewn across the banana seat. My cycling partner (and sister) had the exact same one.
For many people, bicycling becomes the main mode of transportation in warmer weather. Others hop on and pedal solely for the recreational enjoyment of it. Back when we were growing up on the farm, my sister and I would steal any spare moment we could find just to ride up and down the driveway, with nowhere to go but back and forth.
No matter what purpose your bicycle serves for you, it’s worth it to consider taking a few simple steps for bike safety and maintenance. After you put the dust rag down, get ready for the cycling season by checking the following off your list:
- Get a tune-up. Whether your style is do-it-yourself or you prefer dropping it off at your local bike shop, always make sure your tires and brakes are in good condition.
- Inspect everyone’s bike helmets. I think we can all agree that our brains are pretty darn important, and head protection on the open road is essential. While we adults can wear the same helmet for years, our kids grow constantly. Always make sure their helmets fit and still sit on their heads the way they should. And don’t forget to take a look at the foam inside. If it’s looking rough or breaking down, it’s time to go helmet shopping.
- Replace your water bottles. Most water bottles designed to fit in the brackets of your bike are plastic. If this is the case for you, get a new one on a regular basis. Plastic breaks down over time, and you don’t need to be ingesting that as you rehydrate. You can also consider switching out the plastic for a stainless steel bottle that fits. They last longer and don’t leach the nasty stuff that plastic does.
- Check the date on your sunscreen. While we all benefit from a little sun exposure, if you’re out on your bike for hours at a time, it’s probably a good idea to stop and lather up occasionally. If last year’s sunscreen has expired, try replacing it with one that offers broad-spectrum protection with just a few ingredients.
If you take care of these few simple steps each spring, the whole family can pedal away into the sunset without a care in the world.
Interested in learning more about what makes a good bike helmet? Check out this article from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.