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I recently restored this Belknap Blue Grass T-Bird Banana bike for a customer.
The bike's been cleaned and chrome has been cleaned of rust and polished.
The rear rim was damaged so I re-laced the rim onto a Shimano 333 hub. New tires front and rear.

It was a fun project...


 
 

It has been a long winter in SW Virginia...

Before your first bike ride, check the condition of your bike.
(Taken from Bike Nashbar Owner's Manual)
Nuts, bolts and straps. Make sure nothing is loose. Lift the front wheel off the ground by two or three inches, then let it bounce on the ground. Anything sound, feel or look loose? Do a visual and tactile inspection of the whole bike. Any loose parts or accessories? If so, secure them. If your not sure, ask someone with experience or a  qualified bike repair or bike shop to check.

Tires and Wheels. Make sure the tires are correctly inflated. Check by putting one hand on the saddle, one on the intersection of the handlebars and stem, then bounce your weight on the bike while looking at the tire deflection. (Use a bike pump to inflate your tires, Do not use a gas station airline to inflate the tires, you can blow up the inner tube if you are not careful!)   Compare what you see with what it looks when you know the tires are correctly inflated; and adjust if necessary.

Tires in good shape? Spin each wheel slowly and look for cuts in the thread and side wall. Replace the damaged tires before riding. (If you are not sure about removing the tire from the rim then take it to a qualified bike repairshop )

Wheels true? Spin each wheel and check brake clearance and side-to-side wobble. If a wheel wobbles side-to-side even slightly, or rubs against or hits the brake pads, take the bike to a qualified bike repair shop  or a qualified bike shop to have the wheel trued.
 
 
Before you ride check and have repaired or replaced all the safety components on your bike:

Brakes - Are the cables frayed and worn? Are the brake pads worn down or cracked? Are the brake levers tensioned correctly?

Chain- Is the chain clean and lightly lubricated? Does it jump off the rear cogs when pedaling?

Front and rear derailleurs- Does it  shift smoothly through the gears? Does the chain fall off the front chainrings?

Wheels - Do they run true?  Are they missing spokes or wobbly?

Tires -  Are they sidewalls cracked? Is the tread bald?

(Taken from Bike Nashbar Owner's Manual)
Nuts, bolts and straps. Make sure nothing is loose. Lift the front wheel off the ground by two or three inches, then let it bounce on the ground. Anything sound, feel or look loose? Do a visual and tactile inspection of the whole bike. Any loose parts or accessories? If so, secure them. If your not sure, ask someone with experience.

Tires and Wheels. Make sure the tires are correctly inflated. Check by putting one hand on the saddle, one on the intersection of the handlebars and stem, then bounce your weight on the bike while looking at the tire deflection. (Use a bike pump to inflate your tires, Do not use a gas station airline to inflate the tires, you can blow up the inner tube if you are not careful!)   Compare what you see with what it looks when you know the tires are correctly inflated; and adjust if necessary.

Tires in good shape? Spin each wheel slowly and look for cuts in the thread and side wall. Replace the damaged tires before riding. (If you are not sure about removing the tire from the rim then take it to a qualified bike repair shop )

Wheels true? Spin each wheel and check brake clearance and side-to-side wobble. If a wheel wobbles side-to-side even slightly, or rubs against or hits the brake pads, take the bike to a qualified bike repair shop  or a qualified bike shop to have the wheel trued.
 
 

BIKE VIRGINIA 2013 IN BOTETOURT COUNTY

Botetourt County will host Bike Virginia 2013 from June24th through 26th at the Greenfield Recreational Park.
Registration starts this month.
For more info http://bikevirginia.org
 
 
May is bike month in Virginia.

Before you ride check and have repaired or replaced all the safety components on your bike:

Brakes - Are the cables frayed and worn? Are the brake pads worn down or cracked? Are the brake levers tensioned correctly?

Chain- Is the chain clean and lightly lubricated? Does it jump off the rear cogs when pedaling?

Front and rear derailleurs- Does it  shift smoothly through the gears? Does the chain fall off the front chainrings?

Wheels - Do they run true?  Are they missing spokes or wobbly?

Tires -  Are they sidewalls cracked? Is the tread bald?

 
 
Should I fix my bike or buy a new one?

This may be the question you are asking yourself before your first ride of the summer.

Here is my opinion on the subject.

If the frame or components are cracked or severely damaged then it is a safety issue and it should not be ridden. The other bike components may be of value and could be saved. A new frame or component may be the solution.

Most new bikes that cost more than $300 are of reasonable quality. If you need to put $50 - $150 into repairs then it may be worth the money to have it fixed.

A Walmart or Target "special" is probably not worth repairing unless it is just a simple brake or shifting tune up. (Don't  buy another one!)

Safe tune ups or repairs  by a repair or bike shop saves adding one more big piece of metal to the local landfill. It also provides jobs to the local economy and does not contribute to the US trade deficit since all inexpensive bikes are all made in Taiwan or mainland China.

As always you can talk to a friend who is  knowledgeable about bikes or bring it to a repair or bike shop for their opinion before you decide what to do with your bike.


 
 
Adults and children should always wear an approved cycling helmet when riding a bike.

Cycling helmets come in all shapes and sizes. Some are very expensive ( $100 plus) but you can get many below$30.

There is no excuse not to wear one. It is an investment ( less than a car gas fillup) that is well worth it as opposed to death, permanent brain damage or huge emergency / hospital bills. They are so light weight so that you  hardly know they are on your head. Some have a bill to keep the sun out of your eyes.

Make sure the straps are securely fastened and snug with the front of the helmet just about in line with your eyebrows. If the helmet is not securely fastened then the safety factor is negated (like not wearing a seat belt in a car).
 
 
If you have wheels with quick release system  then make sure the quick release mechanism on your wheels must be securely locked before safely riding your bike.  Here are a few steps and reminders:
  • The locking lever for both wheels should be on the left side (side opposite chain side).   
  • Adjust the hub skewer nut for resistance half way through the lever swing. 
  • The front wheel skewer lever when fully closed should be located just in front of the fork if possible. The rear wheel skewer lever when fully closed should be located between the seat and chain stays if possible.
  • The lever when properly closed should be parallel to the center plane of the bike.
  • Also, when properly closed you should see  "close" embossed on the skewer lever.
 
 
Check the condition of your bike before every ride.
(Taken from Bike Nashbar Owner's Manual)
Nuts, bolts and straps. Make sure nothing is loose. Lift the front wheel off the ground by two or three inches, then let it bounce on the ground. Anything sound, feel or look loose? Do a visual and tactile inspection of the whole bike. Any loose parts or accessories? If so, secure them. If your not sure, ask someone with experience or a  qualified bike repair like me or bike shop to check.

Tires and Wheels. Make sure the tires are correctly inflated. Check by putting one hand on the saddle, one on the intersection of the handlebars and stem, then bounce your weight on the bike while looking at the tire deflection. (Use a bike pump to inflate your tires, Do not use a gas station airline to inflate the tires, you can blow up the inner tube if you are not careful!)   Compare what you see with what it looks when you know the tires are correctly inflated; and adjust if necessary.

Tires in good shape? Spin each wheel slowly and look for cuts in the thread and side wall. Replace the damaged tires before riding. (If you are not sure about removing the tire from the rim then take it to a qualified bike repair shop like me)

Wheels true? Spin each wheel and check brake clearance and side-to-side wobble. If a wheel wobbles side-to-side even slightly, or rubs against or hits the brake pads, take the bike to a qualified bike repair shop like me or a qualified bike shop to have the wheel trued.

     
 
 
Chances are that if your bike has been sitting all winter then you should look at your bike chain before your first ride. Lubricating the chain is important in a bike tune up. The chain must be able to move smoothly about the chainrings and sprockets. If the chain is rusty or dry it will cause problems.

Now to the lubricants... Use a bike chain lube for example from Park Tools or Pedro's.
Use sparingly, a small drop per inside roller (between the inner and outer plates) and clean off excess with a cloth by wiping the entire chain. The idea is just to cover the whole chain lightly with the lube.

Do not use WD-40 or 3 in 1 like oils.  They will attract dirt and overspray from WD-40 will get all over the chainstay and possibly onto rear rims ( a no- no for rim brakes).