Mechanic’s Corner

Is your bike in shape for a six-day tour?

If you don’t know, then your bike may need work. For a road bike, if it has been more than 5 years or 2000 miles, you probably need an overhaul. All the bearings will need to be cleaned and repacked with grease. That includes the front and rear hubs, bottom bracket, headset, and pedals. You may need a new chain, cables or brake pads. Every moving part on the bike should be cleaned and lubricated. Here is a good video showing you the various parts of your bike.

If you are not comfortable servicing your own bike, take it to your local bicycle shop to have it tuned up and checked out. (Some shops will pick up and deliver.) Make sure to tell your mechanic that you are going on a tour. A good mechanic will find anything that is likely to go wrong during the tour. This will give you the option of fixing it, or possibly buying that new bike you have been thinking about.

What is in your on-bike tool kit?

At a minimum, you should carry a spare tube (make sure it will fit your wheel), tire levers (to get the flat tube out), a patch kit (in case you get 2 flats), and a pump. Someone in your group should also have a chain tool (in case you break or bend your chain) and a spoke wrench. You don’t want a broken chain or a warped wheel to cause you to be sagged in and miss a day’s ride. Carry all the allan wrenches and screwdrivers needed to tighten anything on your bike. Some tool kits are pretty complete and include the seat bag. Multi-tools, i.e., “Swiss army knife” tools, can replace many individual tools. Make sure you know how to use all the tools you carry.

If you have any questions about how to prepare your bike for the PALM tour, you can email me directly.

Al Lauland
Sprockets & Spokes Bicycle Service

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