Questions for Casey Wollschlaeger, service technician at The Hub Bike Co-op in Minneapolis:
Q What’s the most common problem(s) with bikes that have not been ridden in a while?
A Most bikes that have been stored indoors in good condition simply need the tubes inflated and moving parts such as the chain, derailleur, levers and cables lubricated.
Q What adjustments are possible on standard bikes? What adjustments might people not know about?
A Many parts of the bike can be adjusted for better comfort, which is different for everybody and will depend on each rider’s body geometry, flexibility, riding style and fitness level. Many bicycle components can be replaced for better comfort, including: saddles, grips, stems, tires and bar tape. Padded bar tape, gloves and cycling shorts can also help with discomfort or circulation problems. Important note on seat and stem height: It’s unsafe to raise the seat post above the minimum insertion line. This is usually marked with lines or arrows which should always remain inside the seat tube or head tube.
Q What’s your best advice for determining if a bike needs service?
A At The Hub, we recommend bringing in a bike if you experience problems shifting, braking or handling; if any part of the bike feels too loose or too tight; if the bike makes clicking, grinding, creaking or rubbing noises; if it’s a recent purchase outside a bike shop; and if you’re planning a long bike trip.
Q What about custom fitting, and its cost?
A It’s a good idea to bring your bike in for a custom fitting if you have a new bike, made changes to your bike, or are experiencing discomfort while riding. Getting properly fitted for your bike can often improve lower back pain, sore neck and shoulders, numbness in hands, knee pain, and seat soreness. A good fit also improves riding efficiency. The Hub offers free basic fits with the purchase of a new bike and an advanced fit for $100. Every shop is different. Call your local bike shop for more information.