29 June 2010

The importance of maintaining your equipment

I promise that pictures, videos, and a report of the Bike MS ride is coming...

But first, I need to talk about bike maintenance. We all know that we need to take care of our bike: clean and lube the chain, maintain the proper air pressure in the tires, inspect the brake/shifter cables, etc... Like a good little cyclist, I am always on top of that, but I missed something which almost caused a problem on the 2nd day.

After the 100 miles on Saturday, my feet were sore - more specifically, my big toes were really sore. I figured that it wouldn't hurt to move my cleats back a little farther over the balls of my feet before Sunday's 75 miles to see if that helped. Aside from the dirt/clay/mud/gum(gross!) that I had to dig out of all of the recesses of my cleats before I could adjust them, I found that I had ben woefully negligent in monitoring my cleat wear, and that they were well beyond the point of needing replacement.

The old cleats

The new cleats

Yeah, these should have been replaced last year.

Yeah I know. Bad. I think I've been on these cleats about 2 seasons, which is about one more than I should have been on them. After a season of shuffling around on concrete, asphalt, and other cleat non-friendly surfaces, you should replace your cleats. And it's not like they're expensive, my favorite bike shop, SLC Bicycle Co. set me up with a pair for a paltry $15.99.

When your cleats get worn, it can cause problems. Clicking in is more difficult, as well as releasing. You can also have problems with cleat retension - on Sunday, I was riding down one of the steeper hills on the route, going at a fairly good speed when my left foot just lifted off the pedal! No warning, I was unclipped that easy.

So kids, when you are doing your regular maintenance on your bike, don't forget to check your cleats and replace them if they are worn.

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