Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road is an online cycling magazine. It is intended for writers and riders who want to share their on the road cycling stories and pictures. Submissions that follow our guideline are gratefully appreciated. See the appropriate page in the site menu. Will publish the best of the best each month. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter @PicosCycling.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Spring is Coming

By Jack Hawkins
Photos: Pico Triano

Spring will (hopefully) be here very soon! And most of us (myself included) will do some kind of happy dance, maybe a jig and Flintstone-esque “Yabba-dabba-doo!”, why? Is it because the snow is mostly gone? Because there’s actually a whole week where the temperature is above-zero? Well, yes and yes. But more importantly than the weather, it’s the time of year where we dust off our bicycles, grease the chain, adjust the brake cables, pump up the tyres and RIDE!

You know the feeling - your first day out on the bike after the longest winter in living memory! (Well, that’s every Atlantic Canadian winter - but you catch my drift) It’s a wonderful feeling. Warm-ish breeze in your face, perhaps it’s a little chilly but that’s fine, you don’t care. You’re free, you’re back in the saddle for the first time since October.

You’re able to enjoy a leisurely ride, even if you don’t go very far, it’s still rewarding. The grass is turning greener, birds are beginning to fly again, flowers are beginning to pop up… “Aaaah, Spring.” You’ll say.

For those of you who have taken the winter and hibernated, I say this: “On yer bike!” It’s Spring for God’s sake! After an entire winter of nothing but freezing temperatures, several feet of snow in one storm, and then another storm - and then another, what greater motivation do you need?

Well, in case the very fact that winter is over wasn’t enough, here’s some motivators for you:

1. First off, Spring is a great time to catch some deals on all things cycling. If you don’t already own one, plenty of people are selling their bikes on websites such as Kijiji, although they are sold year-round, Spring and Fall are particularly great times to get them. As Christmas is over and Junior has a new bicycle now and his parents want to sell his old one.

2. In addition to bikes, gear is also coming in - it is Spring, after all and some people (like myself) have saved their money over Christmas in order to get that new saddle they really wanted, or a new set of panniers.

Bike shops are getting rid of their older inventory, ready for the summer. So, they may have knock-down prices on older gear and now would be the time to go grab whatever you need at lower prices!

3. It’s bike maintenance time! That’s right, and no - you can’t put it off any longer. Personally, I’ll be assessing my touring bike come Spring, I already know that the chain needs some greasing, and the rear brakes need tightening, as I currently have to press down almost all the way on the brakes in order for the brakes to actually take any effect. Maybe it was the cycling in stupidly cold temperatures right through until early December that did it!

We all need to gussy-up Old Bessie - or whatever you call your bicycle. (I swear, I don’t call mine “Old Bessie”) It’s time to assess your own bike - is there anything that’s in need of repair on it? Does it need a new set of tyres or inner-tubes? Perhaps some new brake cables? Then it’s time your trusty steed was given a full makeover! And she WILL thank you for it on your first ride!

You can either Do-It-Yourself, which is always nice and I’ll be largely trying to DIY most of my own repairs. But for those of us less mechanically-inclined, you can either take it into your local bike shop and have them service your bike.

Locally, both bike shops in the Moncton area offer maintenance packages.

Mike’s Bike Shop of Dieppe, currently offer three “Tune-up Packages”, according to their website.

Bronze-Level Tune-up - $36.99

Basic tune-up including:

  • Brake and gear adjustments.
  • Tyre inflation.
  • Overall safety-check.

Silver-Level Tune up - $69.99

More advanced tune-up including:

  • Brake and gear adjustments.
  • Tyre inflation.
  • Overall safety-check.
  • Light wheel truing.
  • Installation of up to two parts or accessories.

Gold-Level Tune-up - $109.99

Our ‘top-of-the-line’ tune-up including:

  • Brake and gear adjustments.
  • Tyre inflation.
  • Overall safety-check.
  • Light wheel-truing.
  • Installation of up to four parts or accessories.
  • A ‘Ultra-Sonic’ parts cleaning of the drivetrain.

In addition to Mike’s tri-package system, Consolvo Bikes in the Greater Moncton Area, has their own maintenance service procedures. Shop Manager, Jim Goguen explains:
“Tune-ups start at $40.00, plus parts, that covers most bicycles. Some need a little more than a basic tune-up, at that we do a free inspection so we have a more accurate cost to the customer. One thing we offer is “Fit Services” to customers for $75.00. Most people don’t know the value in being fitted for their bicycles.”

And, Jim also offers a few basic courses in the Spring, free-of-charge, on general road safety and basic bicycle maintenance - changing a flat tyre, for instance. Yet another reason to get back in the saddle once Spring arrives.

And lastly, Spring also provides us with the chance to begin a new year in our cycling calendars and set ourselves a goal for the new cycling season. If you’re a follower of professional cycling, you can mark down the dates for the Tour de France, and any other professional cycling races of importance. (My knowledge on professional cycling is very limited - so if I’ve missed out any other key races, I apologise).

On a personal level, people are setting goals for themselves all the time with regards to cycling. Whether they be fitness-related, or whether people have said, “This Summer, I want to bike across Canada”. From a touring standpoint, and as an example, my goal for this year is - through my cycling tours - to build up my presence as a freelance, cycle-touring, travel writer, both online and offline. I want to see new parts of New Brunswick and possibly the other Maritime Provinces as well and I’ll be writing all about them on my blog. As well as possibly writing a book about my experiences.

That’s what Spring is all about for cyclists. New bikes, new accessories, new goals, new experiences, and the start of a brand new cycling season.

What are your cycling goals for this year? Where do you want to travel to on your bicycle? Spring is almost here. Well… go on then - on yer bike!

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