Are the bikes ready?

Before you ride in Around the Bay or even when you head out for a family ride, you don’t want annoying mechanical issues holding you back or slowing you down. 

Bikes in regular use need a service every year to replace worn out parts. Bikes that haven’t been ridden for ages need a service to replace rusted parts and perished tyres.

Ride2School have instructions for a very helpful and easy safety check you can do at home - without being an expert. 

Don’t forget that the kids’ bikes seat heights might need to be raised to match how much they’ve grown. They might even need a bigger bike - an early Christmas present perhaps? 

Your local bike store can service your bike. You’ll need to book it in but they should be able to do it within a week. We recommend that all riders get their bike serviced before the event. A service should check and fix any problems with:

  • brakes,  
  • gears, 
  • wheels and tyres, 
  • headset and crank bearings,
  • suspension (if you have it),
  • loose accessories, like luggage rack, kickstand, basket, etc. 

A service doesn’t generally include cleaning your bike, but it should include a careful look over the whole bike for cracks in the frame or any safety issues.

Don’t be suspicious if you’re told you need a new chain and cluster (the set of cogs on the rear wheel). The chain and cogs of the gear system, particularly the rear set, wear out and must be replaced—as often as every year on bikes that are ridden regularly.

Riding with a dry or rusty chain quickly wears out the system. It’s usually not possible to replace the chain and not the rear cogs—they are generally wear together. You may need new front cogs too.

You’re likely to need new brake pads and might need new cables for your brakes and your gears. 

Our advice is to ask for a quote for the service beforehand—the mechanic should be able to tell what needs to be replaced after a quick scan over the bike—and also ask the mechanic to call you before replacing any parts in addition to the ones agree in the quote. Expect to pay at least $80, which doesn’t include the price of any parts that need replacing.

If you’re not comfortable with the first shop you go to, it’s well worth finding another. Another option—which might be more convenient for you—is to have a mobile mechanic come to you. There are a few different mobile bike mechanic services in cities around Australia that you’ll find with a quick internet search.

So do yourself a favour and get your bike serviced. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes to have everything running smoothly.