As the Death Ride nears, a group of Cycle Folsom’s riders got together to give their bikes a final tune up to make sure their rides were in top working order.

Most of the work was similar – brake/shifter cable replacement and new chain installation.

Cable replacement takes some time and patience – especially when the cables are internally routed. This job includes:

  1. Replacing front and rear brake cables and housings.
  2. Replacing front and rear derailleur cables and housings.
  3. Adjusting the brakes
  4. Adjusting all shifting
  5. Replacing bar tape

Joe was a great help with the bar tape with his technique of starting on the top and winding it “backwards”.  This gives a cleaner look to the tape and seems more secure.

Jonathan learned the hard way that regular cable replacement is important to avoid snapping a cable during a ride.  When a rear derailleur cable breaks, the only option is the smallest cog. During the Carson Pass Train for the Tours (TftT) ride, he lost his rear derailleur cable at mile 73. Fortunately, the last 27 miles were mostly a descent and he was able to finish the ride.

I learned this lesson as well about a year ago when my derailleur cable snapped during a ride.  I now replace my cables every 6 months.

This is actually very inexpensive.A cable kit costs around $40 and new bar tape is about $20.

Chain replacement is important in ensuring the drive train doesn’t wear prematurely.  As the chain stretches, it can cause the cassette and chainrings on the crank to wear out more quickly.  In addition, a stretched chain makes for a degraded shifting response.

A new chain is about $40 and should be replaced when worn.  There is a simple tool that measures chain stretch.

To replace a chain, the easiest method is to simply remove the old chain with a chain breaker and lay the new and old chains side by side on the floor.  This will give you the chain length for removing the excess links on the new chain. Once trimmed, the chain is routed and a master pin is installed to secure the chain.

A preventative maintenance plan for your bike is a great way to avoid problems and keep your bike in top running condition. You can learn a lot of the techniques from youtube videos. GCN has a great set of maintenance videos that will give you detailed step by step instructions. A couple of inexpensive tools will go a long way toward enabling you to do your own maintenance.  This will also save a lot of time and money.

If you are considering doing your own work on your bike, Cycle Folsom has many members who are excellent mechanics and can help you with your efforts.  Be sure to solicit their advice.