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How to Fix Up Your Neglected Bike!

I reunited with an old friend yesterday! My bike :)

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I missed this guy! You all know I love running, but when it’s really warm and pretty out, biking is my favorite go-to activity.

The only problem? My bike had been sitting in storage for a year while I was in Prague, and I hadn’t gotten it back up to speed yet. When I came back to D.C. in the fall, I kept meaning to fix up my bike, but I kept putting it off because I don’t understand bikes!

I love biking, but I don’t consider myself a “biker.” In my mind, bikers are fast and wear awesome race outfits and have all sorts of high tech gear, and know how to fix their bike if it breaks. Yeah… that’s not exactly me. ;)

Thankfully, the guy at the bike shop was nice. He said I should be good to go as long as I got air in the tires and greased the chain a bit. I came home the proud owner of my very first bike pump!

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Putting air in your bike’s tires is easy. Just look for the little screw off cap thing on your tire…

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Screw it off, and then push the air pump thingy (that’s the technical term, obviously) onto it:

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And then start slowly pumping! Look for the writing on your tire that will tell you how much air to put in them, or just go by how full the tire feels. I’m irrationally terrified of blowing up my tires, so once they start feeling full, I usually stop :)

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Once I got the tires ready to go, I flipped the bike over and set to cleaning and lubricating the chain.

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The stuff I bought is a lubricant and cleaner in one!

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The instructions said to just spray it on the chain while slowly while rotating the wheels (so the chain moves and it lubricates it evenly).

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Don’t worry… I took the cap off ;) That was just a reenactment, hehe.

Once you’ve gotten the chain fully lubricated, rotate the wheels again slowly while holding a towel around part of the chain to clean it off. Yikes, look at all that grime!!

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And that was that! I can’t believe that I kept putting something off that only took 15 minutes to do. Silly me! Oh well :) At least my bike is finally back in action!

I was SO excited to take my bike for a spin. Check out my sexy helmet:

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It’s purple and I’ve had it since I was like 12. Heh! Better safe than sorry, right?!? :)

I headed down to my favorite trail and ended up biking 10 miles in a little over an hour. Glorious! Unlike with running, where I’m competitive and like working on speed and distance, with biking I just like going slowly and enjoying the scenery :)

And now, I’m super excited because I’m getting ready to head downtown to meet my friend Jackie! Jackie and I met while teaching English in Prague last year and she’s awesome. :)

Here we are in the Old Town Square in Prague, Christmas 2008:

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And getting ready to ski in a small town about an hour outside Prague:

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And chillin in Letna Park, overlooking the city of Prague!

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Ironically, the last time I saw her was exactly one year ago this weekend! Last Easter Jackie and I took a trip to Ireland together since we had some time off from teaching. Here we are at Blarney Castle!

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It was an AMAZING trip, but also sad because Jackie had just found out her Czech work permit application had been denied (for no reason… stupid cranky officials) and she had to go home, so she left straight from Ireland :( I can’t WAIT to see her!! She just got back home to New Jersey a week ago from a 6-month stint teaching English in China, and is down here this weekend seeing family for the holiday.

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Have a wonderful day, friends! I’ll be back later with some Cherry Blossom pictures :)

Are you a biker? Are you more casual about it like me or do you race?

Comments

  1. 1

    I fear my bike needs more TLC than yours. Currently it’s been sitting in the yard abandoned for about 3 years, tires are flat and husband removed the seat for “another project”. I do have plans to renovate it though!

  2. 2

    Hey, where is that trail?? I live in Arlington and run on the Custis and W&OD trails all the time, and I would love a change of scenery!

  3. 4

    i love cycling, but i am definitely NOT competitive enough with it to race. i do enjoy seeing how fast i can go up hills though! thanks for the lesson too, i need to clean my bike up big time!

  4. 5

    I’m not a biker by any stretch of the word, but I did actually go biking today! I want to get a bike because DC has some awesome trails and I think biking in the summer will be so nice. I would be interested in doing a triathlon at some point, but I’m definitely not there yet and don’t have the fancy race gear. :)

  5. 6

    There are few activities more enjoyable in the DC area in the spring/fall than biking! Wonderful bike paths, lots of connections, and neat scenery. Glad you rediscovered all that. Well done! :-)

  6. 7

    I just pulled my bike out today! The poor thing needs air in the tires too. Manana!

    I’m not competitive. I love using it to run errands, I did it all the time when I lived downtown, but not so much anymore since I’m in suburbia. I think I need to get back to that though. There’s plenty within biking distance!

    I’d never thought of cleaning up my bike! Thanks for the info!

  7. 8

    I’m definitely more casual about it like you. I’d like to be hard core but for now I just enjoy the leisure of it.

  8. 9

    I am definitely not a biker! Don’t even own a bike! I totally wish I did seeing as it looks so fun and is a great way to cross train! Too bad bikes are so expensive and I’m scared to ride in the street with cars :( No bike paths or trails around here.

  9. 11

    Great post. FYI, helmets should be replaced after 5ish years or they aren’t as effective… you may want to pick up a new one!! Love you and don’t want to see you sustain a head injury.

    Sorry, didn’t mean to sound like your mother. ;)

  10. 13

    Great work on the bike ride!! I love riding :)

  11. 14

    I WANT to be a biker. My husband and I rented bikes in Central Park for my birthday last year and it was pretty much my favorite day on earth! But, I’m yet to own a bike.

  12. 15

    Oh how I love springtime biking; I’m just like you about it though. I am low-key, and I don’t have any bike clothes or supplies or anything.
    Hope you have many more pretty spring rides!

  13. 16

    I’m currently on the prowl for a (cheap) bike, just for casual use. Maybe down the road (no pun intended :P) I’ll pick up biking more seriously because it’s something I’ve always been interested in!

  14. 17

    Bo and I have talked about buying bikes to enjoy in NYC this summer. But, with moving costs and taxes I think we’ll stick to spinning at Equinox 3 days a week. *sigh*

  15. 18

    Hahahaha – amazing post, girl!
    Lovely pics :)
    Can you believe I never learned how to ride a bike?
    And I´m 15!
    Yeah… Impressive, huh?
    Oh, well ;)
    Have a great week, though!
    Brazilian XOXO´s,
    Gabriela

  16. 20

    You look so hardcore with that helmet.

  17. 22

    I actually biked and ran today. I ran 13 miles by myself and later on this evening went out for a 13 mile (probably more like 14) with my hubby. However, I am like the slowest bike rider ever and took it very casually. :)

  18. 24

    I’ve had my bike for over a decade, luckily its never been stored outdoors that whole time. I had a guy come by and he said all it needed was minor tune up and it was good to go! We’re moving to a great bike friendly town (corvallis, OR) this summer and getting rid of one of our cars and I’m going to bike for errands and such :) When I told the bike guy I’d had my helmet at least a decade he told me the internal foam, etc can get dry rot and may not protect you in an accident and that you should replace helmets every 5 years or so – I went out and got a new one for $25. It looked totally different and had a totally different system for staying in place than my old one!

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