Getting the bike ready to roll

(Published April 1, 2019)

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

After a long winter spent cooped up inside, getting back on the bike is the easy part.

The tricky part comes before you saddle up. After a long season in a closet or storage space, most bikes need at least a small tune up.

Dan Ioja, fleet manager at Bike and Roll Chicago, repairs bikes at their facility in Millennium Park. He said some bikes just need minor repairs a bike savvy person can do at home, others could need more serious work.

“It depends where you store it,” Ioja said. Ioja should know—as the bike repair expert at Bike and Roll, he sees all kind of bikes that have been stored in all kinds of places.

If a bike is stored in a garage or an area exposed to cold, dry air, Ioja explained, the cables and tires could be dried out and other parts of the could be suffering from oxidation.

However, just because the tires need air, that doesn’t necessarily  mean there is a problem. Tires lose air over time.

“The wall of the tube is so porous it’s going to lose pressure,” Ioja said. “But if the tires are completely deflated, the tire walls could have cracks.”

The first thing a bike owner should do is air up the tires, lubricate the chain and make sure the brakes work.

Ioja said bike manufacturers recommend a tune up at least once a year, so this could mean a trip to the bike store.

“Spring is the time when a tune up is recommended to make sure the bike is prepared for riding season,” he said.

Other manufacturers, especially companies that make high-end bikes, recommend major overhauls every few years. Carbon frames with carbon seat posts, need the seat posts to be removed and reset every few years.

With 400 members, Bike and Roll Chicago mechanics have seen all manner of bicycles. Ioja said non-members with questions is welcome to bring their bike by.

“We keep people on the road all through the year in all kinds of conditions,” he said.

Liam Doring, a bike mechanic at Bike and Roll, cleans up a bike. Photo by Jesse Wright

Tuneups at Bike and Roll start at $69 and a full overhaul is $200. Flat tires are fixed for $16 plus tax.

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