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Spring Cleaning: Tune Up Your Bike

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By Kerry McNally, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As we close out the fourth official week of spring, it’s time to wake your bicycle from its winter slumber and give that two-wheeler a tune up.

We pedaled over to the One On One Bicycle Studio in Minneapolis to get some expert advice from store owner and former world class cyclist Gene Oberpriller.

No matter how long your bike has been in storage, Oberpriller says that a bicycle is one of those rare inventions.

“What’s cool about a bicycle is it can sit around for 50 … 60 years, and if it’s in the right condition you can just put air in the tires and ride it off. And you can’t do that with really anything else,” he said.

So where do you start in the spring?

“First thing is check the tires. They are probably going to be low. A very common thing for bikes sitting in over the winter is for the tires to lose air,” Oberpriller explained.

You should also be certain that you have the right tires for the right terrain.

“We always recommend a street tire for street riding and a dirt tire for dirt riding,” he said.

Now before you take a seat, you’ll want to take some time to adjust it, for both safety and comfort.

“Next is the saddle. Are you comfortable on your seat? You have lots of adjustment in it,” said Oberpriller.

Before you mount up be certain to get a proper handle on things.

“The third most important part is what your holding onto — handlebars. They come in various widths, rises, heights and shapes. It can make a big difference on how you feel on the bike,” Oberpriller said.

And not having a working headlight and reliable brakes could cost you in more ways than you can imagine.

Oberpriller said, “The state law is one working brake and a head light visible from 500 feet and a red reflector. Those are the minimums. And the ticket, ironically, is the same as the motor vehicle code for a headlight which is about $135.”

You’ll also want to make sure that your chain is good and lubricated.

If you’re going to take your bike to a professional for a spring tune up, here’s an insider tip: clean it up beforehand. Most bike shops will add $15 to $40 on to your bill for simply taking a clean cloth to it, and that could be a tasty lunch after a nice long ride.

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