Winter riding can be a fun experience. Whether you are commuting every day or just going out for a spin, there are a few things to keep in mind when you get back before you make yourself a hot cocoa and relax.
After each ride, you should wipe the salt and slush off your bike. The extra five minutes each day will ensure you have a bike once spring hits. Keeping your winter steed as clean as possible will keep it safe and reliable. The salt from the frozen roads will destroy your bike if left unattended. Don’t use pressurized water when doing this, a wet washcloth will do just fine. Plus then your bike will be nice and sparkly and make you want to ride it again!
Once a week you should clean the gunk off the chain and re-lubricate it. Doing this will help your bike shift better (if you have gears) and keep your chain strong as you push through the frozen ruts. No one wants to deal with a popped chain in 10-degree weather!
After every winter you should always tune up your bike. The cables that hook up your brakes and pull your derailers will often times need to be replaced. Plus this is a great time to change the cable housing color to customize your shred sled. Venture North offers a discounted basic tune-up at $50 until the end of February!
What is a REAL bike?
A real bike is one that is ridden. A bike becomes real when it comes alive under the power of a human being. A bike on a hook in the garage covered in dust isn't a real bike until you take it down, wipe it off, lube the chain, air up the tires to the recommended range printed on the side of the tire, adjust the saddle height, and ride it.
What is a GOOD bike?
Some bikes are inherently better given their assembly of quality parts, but every good bike has a shared quality, the investment of skilled labor. A bike is assembled from many parts, but it takes a trained mechanic to perform adjustments on those components so that the whole bike sings. The wheels spin without resistance, nothing rattles when the bike is bounced, the brakes actually stop the bike, and the shifting allows for riding up a hill in an easy gear. The saddle is at a comfortable efficient height too. Any bike can become a GOOD bike with the help of a great service staff. How do we go from good to great though?
What is a GREAT bike?
A great bike makes a seamless rider experience. In this seamless experience the bike disappears beneath the rider, and becomes a conduit to experience the natural and human-made world. At Venture North we aim to create that experience with everybody that comes in the shop. A great bike, like a shoe, needs to fit. A great bike fits in 3 ways. It fits the rider's riding style, body mechanics, and budget.
Riding Style is how you want to roll. If you want to ride short trips with your kids to the park, be upright and visible to traffic, and not lean forward much to get to the handlebars you're on the upright side of the spectrum. If you want to be efficient with your pedal input, active with your arms in adding power to the bike, and going on longer trips more often, a neutral riding position with the handlebars at about the same height as the saddle is a good place to be. If racing is your style, getting out of the wind is a great way to get faster, but that means a more leaned forward and aggressive riding position.
Every body is different. Fitting the bike to the rider is crucial to a seamless rider experience. The saddle must be at the height to give proper leg extension for the most efficiency in the pedal stroke. This may feel weird to newer riders, but low saddles make for painful knees. Some riders have long legs and short torsos, some have the opposite, and some are equal ratio. We help to figure this out with our customers by finding the right size frame for your legs as well as the reach that your riding style requires.
We have high value bikes for every budget. Our refurbished adult bikes start at around 200 dollars and a guaranteed to perform. We have a 90 day service guarantee on all refurbished bikes, and have invested skilled labor and new parts to bring a new life to these worthy machines. Our refurbished bikes are a better value than a new departments store bike. Our bikes are built of higher quality components, suited for your riding style, professionally tuned up so they're reliable, and adjusted to fit your body. Sure they may have some scratches on the paint or patina on some parts, but great quality stands the test of time. Department stores sell shiny bikes with heavy low quality parts, that are assembled and not adjusted, and are intended for one cycle of use. The cost of repairs on a department store bike quickly exceeds the initial cost of the bike, and adjustments on these bikes don't hold up very well due to the cheap quality of parts. A great bike is a durable good, like a washing machine. It is serviceable, reliable, and safe. A great bike is a loyal friend, a cheap bike is often deserted.
These are things we strive towards. All this being said, we love YOUR bike. We want to work with you and whatever you ride to make for a better experience on two wheels. Air for your tires is always free. Bike questions are always welcome, and no attitude will come back your way. We treat every bike that comes into our service shop in the same objective way. We let the bike tell us what it needs, deliver an honest estimate, and get you back out there for a great experience. We know that if we can make your ride better, you'll be back. We'll be waiting for you.
Casey Pavek is General Manager of Venture North Bike and Coffee shop and a bicycle educator. He believes practical biking brings joy. Practical biking means just getting out there, riding instead of driving, sometimes, getting to know your local bike shop, and working with folks there to make your riding experience better. Casey believes in the power of the bicycle to connect all people to all parts of this little city. Casey knows the power that skilled labor can have when invested in a machine to make it efficient. He and his coworkers at Venture North love your bike, and that you actually ride it! Casey is a dad, husband, musician, and optimist.