Unless you are a dedicated year-round cyclist, the condition of your bicycle(s) may be far from your mind. Right now might be the best time to think about how soon spring will arrive and how great it will be to get out for a ride – provided your bicycle is ready to go.
There are, of course two ways to go – a professional tune up at a local bicycle shop or a do-it-yourself job.
YOUR LOCAL BIKE SHOP – Getting a complete tune up from your bicycle shop makes the bike ride like new again. Even nuisance noises that do not affect the bike mechanically are gone and you can ride carefree. Things you might miss – one brake shoe toed out, a barely noticeable wheel wobble – will not escape the notice of good technicians. They will look over your entire bicycle in the course of doing a pre-season “tune up.”
Remember that internet retailers will not be there for you when you need advice, repairs, a part in a hurry, or a tune up – your local bicycle shop will be. You may save a bit of change (even after shipping and the hassle of possible returns) and get “next day delivery” (who REALLY needs that?), but you’ll miss all the benefits of a good relationship with your shop’s personnel.
Here is a list of area shops – see the Albany Bicycle Coalition website for updates. https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/local-bike-shops/
- Bike Barn Cycling and Fitness
109 Remsen St, Cohoes, NY 12047
- Blue Sky Bicycles
71 Church St., Saratoga Springs 12866
- CK Cycles
1370 Central Ave., Albany 12205
- Downtube Bicycle Works
466 Madison Ave., Albany 12208
- Elevate Cycles
1581 Rt. 9, Clifton Park 12065
- Grey Ghost Bicycles
76 Lawrence St., Glens Falls 12801
(518) 223- 0148
- Mad Dog Bicycles
561 Delaware Ave., Delmar 12054
Tel. (518) 439-3669
- Savile Road
257 Delaware Ave., Delmar 12054
- Steiner’s Sports
329 Glenmont Rd., Glenmont 12077
- Tomhannock Bicycles
3149 NYS Rt. 7, Pittstown 12094
DO IT YOURSELF – If you prefer to do your own work, there are plenty of “how-to” videos – a good place to start is with Park Tool’s at https://www.youtube.com/user/parktoolcompany Just as an example that anyone can use – how to fix a flat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58STtUM-Wow&list=PLGCTGpvdT04SCKR3pm1OsC5mUF9dapUuz
Speaking of tools, you’ll want to buy the best you can find. For bicycle-specific items, again, Park Tool is a good place to start. Many shops have a display rack of commonly needed tools – by Park and others. For general-purpose tools, Sears Craftsman brand tools are now available at some hardware and home stores. With these or Snap-On, you can’t go wrong.
You can use your multitool for many maintenance and adjustment steps but you’ll be happier and do a better job with regular tools. Save the multitool for on-the-road attention.
Another resource for “do it yourself” is “open bike night” at your local community bike rescue. Here you’ll find camaraderie with like-minded cyclists and advice if you get stuck. You might even want to show off your newfound bicycle servicing skills by volunteering at the bike rescue – there’s no better way to learn than to teach someone else.
Bike Rescues – Here is a list of area bike rescues – see the Albany Bicycle Coalition website for updates. Go here – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/albanybikerescue/
- Albany Bike Rescue – 15 Trinity Pl., Albany 12208, AlbanyBikeRescue@gmail.com, (518) 227-1030 – The Albany Bike Rescue (ABR) hosts community bike repair and educational workshops every Tuesday night from 6:15 to 8:00 PM.
- Electric City Bike Rescue – 189 Jerry St, (off Watt St. at the McGathan Townhouses Community Center) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Troy Bike Rescue – 3280 6th Ave., (North) Troy 12180, (518) 328-4827, WINTER HOURS- Wednesday open shop 5-8 pm