Planning a Big Event? Follow This Plan to Get Your Bike Race / Ride Ready!

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24 Hour Turnaround

Owen working on a Canyon that we recently had in the workshop. In this instance the bottom bracket had worn out. The job was turned around in 24 hours - perfect for the rider who was using this bike for commuting purposes.

We aim to complete a COMPREHENSIVE service on your bike as quickly as possible - especially WHEN the bike is being used daily or the bike is being used in an upcoming event!

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No Brakes…

Worn brake pads can turn descents into a TERRIFYING experience. if you’re planning a hilly sportive make sure your brake pads have meat on them and make sure your gear ratios are suitable for the course.

We’re in mid Feb now, and the weather is on the up. With milder and drier days ahead many of us are getting out when we can, especially if we’re gearing up for events in April / May / June.

That date seems and feels like a long way off, and you might be telling yourself:

“It’s fine - I’ll get my bike checked out a week or two ahead of the event - that will give the bike shop plenty of time to get any problems sorted!“

That seems like a logical plan, but in our experience that mindset has caught a LOT of riders out. With just a few scant days ahead of your event, any delay in delivery of parts, lead time for the workshop and even the bedding-in of parts could make or break your event!

Forward Planning

Let’s say you have an event April; perhaps the early April Ride the Reservoir event or the late April Tommy Godwin sportive?

You’re probably thinking that you’re going to do those events on your winter bike that you’ve been using for the last few months, and that it’ll be one of the last rides you do on it before switching to your spring/summer bike.

Or with the unseasonably warm weather perhaps you’re planning to get the summer bike out and start the 2019 season on it at these events?

Either way, if it’s been a while since your bike was looked at by a professional mechanic then it’s highly advisable that you bring your bike in for a service well ahead of the event date, as you may need new cables (which require time and miles to bed in properly) or specialist parts (which may have a lead time until they are in stock).

A bit of forwarding planning can ensure that your bike rides perfectly for the event!

Bedding in Cables

One of the most common problems we encounter when people leave their bikes to be serviced just before an event is cables.

When a cable is replaced, the cable after a number of miles will start to bed in. This is especially true of gear cables. Once the cable starts to bed in, the initial impact will be that your gears start to misbehave and may not be as quick or as smooth as they were when the bike was first serviced.

This is normal - and can be quickly corrected by a 5 minute tune up in the workshop. Once they have bed in and been tweaked, the cables will only require the occasional turn of the barrel adjuster, until they need to be replaced again.

However, should your newly bedded in cables start to misbehave during your big event, it can quickly make the ride frustrating. After all, most cycling events will have a ticket price - and some can be quite expensive to enter! You want the best experience for your money!

Our advice is that if you’re doing a big event, whether it’s here int he UK or abroad, and the cables have not been checked or replaced for some time, then get your bike booked in at least six weeks ahead of the event. This is especially important if you are racing!

Drivetrain, Brakes and Tyres

We have often had customers bring their bike in to us shortly after completing an event (and sometimes it’s the day immediately after the event!) because the drivetrain was not quite right, or the brakes became soft and caused concerns about ride safety, or they had a number of punctures during the ride.

More often than not, the root cause of these issues are really simple and quick fixes, and had they been done before the event it could have made the ride a much more positive and enjoyable experience!

Things like worn chains, worn brake pads, worn tyres, bent gear hangers and even creaky bottom brackets can turn a long ride into a long and frustrating day in the saddle - and yet they can be quickly and easily remedied ahead of your event.

If you’ve entered a big event, whether it’s a race, a sportive, a charity ride or a distance event, and it’s been a while since your chain was checked, your brake pads replaced or your tyres changed, just pop in, email us or give us a call as soon as you can before your planned event - it could make a big difference to how the big day goes!

Changing Position

Another common mistake we see is people wait until just before the event to make a change on the position or finishing kit on their bike. Some of the common changes include:

  • Saddle changes - Fitting a new saddle, making adjustments to the fore and aft position of the saddle, making adjustments to the tilt of the saddle or making adjustments to the saddle height. Using new bibs / padded shorts.

  • Handlebar changes - Fitting new handlebars (different width/different reach/different drops), moving the stem/handlebars up or down a few spacers.

  • Stem changes - Fitting a new shorter or longer stem, or fitting a stem with a different degree than you have had previously.

  • Pedals / Shoes - Fitting new cleats or a new pedal system.

Our advice is do not change your position or your kit just before a sportive or race.

Instead, make these changes well in advance, and get some miles on the new setup to ensure it is comfortable and does not bring any pain under load or over distance (some changes feel great for the first few miles but become uncomfortable over time/distance).

Riding an untested position, especially under race conditions or across long distances, can ultimately lead to discomfort during the big event you have planned for - and worse, it could lead to injuries!

If you want to make changes to your bike setup, be sure to make a note of exactly what your original bike measurements are (don’t worry - we’re going to write a blog post on what measurements you should take later this week) so that you can return your bike to a tried and tested position should your new setup not feel as comfortable.

Hannah Smith