Eight tips to prepare your bike for the riding season

By Daniel Paul
Team Lead, Guest Experience

The May long weekend is supposed to usher in the official start of nice weather in Calgary. Except for the majority of May long weekends where there is snow.

Nonetheless, it’s an exciting time to get out on the city pathways or neighbourhoods

When you take your bike out of winter storage from the shed or the garage, there are some key tips before starting your rides. If you are uncomfortable with any of the suggestions below consider taking it to a professional.

Clean bike:

Clean any gunk off the chain, chainrings and cassette. Use a wet rag/cloth to wipe down the frame, cables, and braking surface around the rims (if you have rim brakes). While doing this, it’s also a good idea to check the overall condition of the bike.

Tire pressure:

Correct tire pressure is essential to a smooth, safe ride and will prevent damage to the rims. Check the maximum and minimum PSI range located on tire sidewall. Most likely your tires have deflated a little bit from storing them over the winter, so inflate them to the appropriate PSI (depending on personal preference). Make sure to also check the condition of the tires as well. Including cracking on the sidewalls and punctures.

Lube chain:

Check that your chain is in good condition and not too worn out or stretched. Then lube the chain while rotating your pedals backwards, preferably with a drip bottle (not an aerosol/spray bottle). When spraying the chain with an aerosol/spray bottle the overspray can get into the rotor and brake pads which can ruin your brakes. Make sure you wipe off excess lube with a cloth/rag. Excess lube can result in dirt and debris getting stuck and jamming up your chain when on the trails.

Wheel alignment:p1030115

Make sure your wheels are properly secured tightly to the forks. Spin the wheels and check for any wobbles/hops (side to side or up and down movement). Check spoke tension by going around the wheel and squeezing the spokes in pairs, use a spoke key to tighten any that feel loose (when you tighten a spoke it will pull the rim to the side of the hub that the spoke is attached). To get the best results, use a truing stand.

Brake function:

Make sure both the front and rear brakes are engaging properly and aren’t rubbing when you spin the wheels. If the brake lever can be pressed all the way to touch the handlebars then the brakes need tightening. For minor adjustments, tighten the brakes at the barrel adjuster. For major adjustments tighten the brake cable at the caliper (if applicable). If a significant adjustment is needed it’s most likely a sign that the inner brake cable is stretched or frayed and will need replacing.

Gear shifting:

Shift through front and rear gears both up and down (ensuring transition is quick and smooth, and the chain isn’t skipping any gears). Pedal at a constant speed while shifting through the gears and tighten or loosen the barrel adjuster as needed to add or take away tension to the cable.

Tighten headset:

Turn your stem to make sure it moves freely and smoothly. Drop the front end of the bike (from around 6 inches off the ground) to see if you hear any rattle that would indicate anything in the headset is loose. If there is a lot of rattle, investigate further by engaging the brakes and pushing the bike forward and backward to see if there is any movement in the headset (tighten as needed).

Shop tune:

If you are unsure about anything it’s always a good idea to take your bike into the shop and get a qualified/experienced bike technician to have a look at it. Most shops include the following services: complete bike tune-ups (inspection and tune of the frame and forks, wheels, brakes, drive train, lubrication, and cleaning), specific repairs to hubs, headsets and bottom bracket repacks, wheel truing and brake bleeding. Bike tunes should take place every 200-300 bike riding hours. Getting your bike serviced will prevent breakdowns, extend the overall life of the parts, and make your ride safer.



Key points to remember when storing your ski and snowboard equipment for the summer

There are several ways to try to ensure the longevity of your equipment by storing them properly in the off-season.
There are several ways to try to ensure the longevity of your equipment by storing them properly in the off-season.

By Daniel Paul
Team Lead, Guest Experience

It’s always a bittersweet time of year when the snow melts away and the lifts shut down for the winter season.

Unfortunately, this season was prematurely cut short for us all, but it’s important that you ensure that your gear is stored properly for the summer so that you can extend its longevity.

Here are seven key points to consider when packing away your equipment for the summer:

  1. Clean

Use a hose to thoroughly spray down and remove any dirt, salt, grease, road grime, pollen, etc., that may have attached itself to your equipment over the winter. Try to avoid getting water into the bindings if possible, as this could affect the lube/grease in the bindings. After cleaning is complete, wipe down and dry off the equipment with a towel.

  1. Edges

Sharpen the edges using a file and file guide. Use overlapping strokes across the entire edge from tip to tail. You will need to do both the base edge and side edge of the equipment. Then use a soft gummi-stone and run it along the edges to smooth out and remove any burrs and rust. Afterward wipe the edges clean with a towel and rubbing alcohol.

  1. Waxing

You’ll want to hot wax the bases with “storage wax” (can use an all-temperature or a softer warm-weather wax). This will help to protect the base from oxidation (drying out). Be generous with the wax and make sure the base is completely covered evenly in all areas, including the edges (this will help keep rust away). Make sure you don’t scrape the wax off afterward, you want the wax to stay on over the summer to have that protective physical barrier between the base and the surrounding elements. Just before the start of the winter season scrape the wax layer off with a plastic scraper. If needed, wax the base with an appropriate temperature wax for the current conditions. To get the best results after scraping wax off use a range of brushes to smooth out (brush order: brass – stiff nylon – soft nylon – fine horsehair).

  1. Storage

Find a cool, dry place away from the sun to store your equipment (in a neutral position). Preferably store them inside your house where the temperature range is more controlled and doesn’t fluctuate to extremes.

  1. Lower DIN

It’s also a good idea to back off the tension on the ski binding springs, so they don’t stay compressed all summer. This will help to make sure your bindings stay calibrated properly and may also increase the lifespan of your bindings. Loosen them to the lower end of the available DIN scale, but not completely. Remember to reset your DINs to the correct setting on each toe and heelpiece before you use them again next winter. To remember your DIN setting, write the numbers on a piece of tape and stick it on your skis/bindings. You will need a screwdriver (normally Phillip head or flat head) to adjust the DIN settings on your skis.

  1. Shop Tune

Summer is a good time to have your shop do a tune on your equipment (if needed). This may include: P-Tex work on the base, a base and stone grind, base and side edge grind and waxing. Having this done is beneficial as it will fix any base or edge damage incurred during the season and have your equipment ready to go for the next winter season.

  1. Boots

Pull the liners out and make sure everything is completely dry. For ski boots, buckle the boots loosely so they hold their shape. Also, check the heels and toes for wear and replace if necessary. For snowboard boots, inspect laces and replace them if they’re worn.

WinSport supports Mental Health Awareness Week

At the beginning of the COVID-19 self-isolation, I was pretty pumped to work from home. Images of productivity and focus swirled through my head and I was excited about the opportunity to hunker down at home and wait out the storm so to speak. But it didn’t take long for the social isolation and each cold, cloudy day seems like the last for it to start to affect my mental health.

The strategies I normally had in place to keep me physically active and mentally healthy (the gym, my friends, yoga, etc.) were no longer available and I began to lose my energy, positive attitude and overall motivation. I could feel myself slipping into a rut.

I thought I was doing alright until a co-worker noticed that I was “off” in a virtual meeting and that I didn’t seem like myself. After our Zoom call, she sent me a text asking if I was doing ok? That’s when it occurred to me that I may not be handling this as well as I thought I was.

So I decided to call Humancare. That’s what our WinSport Employee & Family Assistance Program is there for, right?  It’s funny though – despite always encouraging my co-workers to call – there was a part of me that hesitated. I thought to myself – I’m not that bad. I can handle this. This service is for people who are really struggling.

Despite my doubts, I called Humanacare anyway and they connected me with a fantastic counsellor. I spoke with her a few times and she was able to not only validate that how I was feeling was normal, but she also helped me identify that working out was an important mental health strategy that if I could just start small, would have me on my way to being myself again.

There is still a lot of stigma around mental health and while there has been lots of work done to normalize the conversation around it – we still have work to do! Remember that when our body is broken or not functioning at 100% we don’t hesitate to seek help from a doctor or physiotherapist. The same goes for our mental health. Sometimes we need support.

Here are my takeaways from this experience:

  1. Recognize your signs of distress. This is different for everyone. Mine looked like irritability, being impatient with my family, and being unmotivated to do the things I normally like to do.
  2. Admit you’re not doing well and tell someone. Whether that’s a friend or family member, co-worker, counsellor or a member of your company’s Wellness Team – tell someone.
  3. Notice when others aren’t doing ok and reach out. It’s because of my teammate that I realized I needed help. This time is hard for everyone and mental health challenges look different for each of us.
  4. Call your EFAP encourage your colleagues to do the same to restore our mental health.

Kristie Pshyk oversees WinSport’s Workplace Wellness Strategy