Cycling GearOutdoor FunTriathlon Gear & Equipment

How To Prepare Your Bike For The Triathlon Season

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By Jim P.

Spring weather is on its way!

No more indoor trainers or spin classes; pretty soon all your riding will be outdoors.

Are you and your bike ready for the road and primed for the upcoming triathlon season?

Following are some tips to help you prepare your bike after the winter hiatus. Topics covered:

  • How to change a flat tire
  • How to clean and lube your bike
  • How to tune-up your bike

…and other basic bike maintenance tips.

Do You Know How To Change A Flat Tire?

First, it’s important that you are prepared for cycling outdoors.

This means you need to learn how to fix a flat tire.

Maybe you lucked out and squeaked through your first season without knowing how.

You can’t carry around a cell phone to call home as a solution for a flat tire when riding outdoors.

In a triathlon if you get a flat, there are no calls.

If you don’t know how to properly fix a flat, you will be on the side of the road and out of the race.

You’re just going to have to learn.

I know for some repairing a flat tire may seem a difficult thing to do.

It isn’t.

3 Key Elements To Changing A Flat Tire

Click to view video instructions showing how to do each step properly

  1. Having the right tools
  2. Removing and replacing your rear wheel
  3. Changing your clincher tire or tubular tire

2 Newbie Mistakes

The 2 most common mistakes of novice cyclists make are:

  1. Not keeping the bike chain lubricated; and
  2. Not keeping tires at the proper pressure.

Check the sidewall of your tire — it will give you the recommended pressure range. Generally, you want to lube your chain no less than every couple weeks.

How To Clean And Lube Your Bike

The second thing every triathlete can easily learn to do is clean and lube their own bike. It helps to have a bike work stand for cleaning or repairing your bike.

To prepare you for cleaning your bike, read Bicycle Cleaning 101, and watch these videos: 

How To Tune-Up Your Bike

Next, you’ll want to make sure your bike is in good condition for heavier training demands and the triathlon season.

One option is to do your own bike tune-up. You could educate yourself about the process with books such as:

Doing it yourself will also involve an investment in the proper tools to tune-up your bike. You may also find that your local bike or multisports shop will have bike maintenance classes.

Many people have their bikes tuned-up at a cycling or multisports shop. Normally, it costs between $40 – $85. More elaborate/extensive tune-ups may cost more.

Most bike tune-ups include checking, adjusting, and lubing:

  • gears/shifting
  • brakes
  • headset
  • hubs
  • tires
  • spoke tension

They won’t clean your bike or do any significant repairs for the price of a tune-up. Also, since it is getting warmer in a lot of areas, you might want to book an appointment ASAP or face a multi-week wait to get your bike in.