Thursday, November 3, 2011

Always Check Your Bike

As I sit here writing this, I know I am guilty of an offense that most triathletes and cyclists likely commit weekly: putting blind faith in our bikes and assuming that all will be well.  It only takes one SNAFU to remind us how fickle our two-wheeled machines are and that one screw loose (not counting the ones in our head) is all it takes for things to go terribly wrong.  At speeds from 18 - 40 mph there is little margin for error. 

Coach Obi-Wan, who is more diligent than most at staying on top of his bike's maintenance was fortunate to avoid mishap today when his handlebars detached from of his bike.  Yep, you read it right!  He had been dealing with a bit of a stem/fork issue over the last few weeks and was lucky that his Felt waited until after Miami 70.3 to rebel.  A reputable bike shop had worked on the bike and assured him that it was good to go - umm...not so much.  Thankfully there was no ensuing crash or other tragedy and both he and the bike are safe; this can only be attributed to the force being with him and his strong bike handling skills.  

What's the point of this story?  If you - for even a second - think that something might be up with your bike, don't ride it; instead, take it to a trusted shop and hope that they know what they are doing.  Unfortunately in this case the shop steered Coach wrong, but on most accounts a good mechanic will help you work through the issue and get you back on the road safely.  Also, make maintenance a habit, not a nuisance.  Remember to conduct a few basic checks (brakes, gears, etc.) before each ride and once a week or so do a more thorough review of the main components/connections. Here's a good bike cleaning and maintenance 101 guide.

Ride safe.

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