First things first, get your bike tuned up and fitted before beginning to train. Efficient position and good body alignment will help you feel more comfortable and maximize your effort. Have a professional bike technician check your position, including the points between your body and the bike: seat, shoes, pedals and hands- poor fit is more painful than poor training.
Schedule a tune-up with your local shop a week or two before you depart for Classic. Make sure to have them check the condition and adjustment of brake pads, brake and gear cables, as well as bearing adjustment in your hubs, headset and bottom bracket. Tires should be checked for wear, cuts and nicks. Remember, old tires not only mean more punctures – they may also be unsafe. A safe and well working bike will let you focus on riding without frustration from mechanical issues or surprises on the road.
If you are in the Portland area, contact Trek Bicycle PDX, formerly known as The Bike Gallery, at one of their six metro area locations. You can stop by anytime for a free “look-over” or diagnostic check. Sometimes the trained eye of the professional mechanic catches the otherwise unnoticed problem and besides, estimates are always free. You can learn more about the process of a professional bicycle fitting they provide here.
There are many moving parts to a bicycle and we’ll leave the myriad of details to our expert friends at Trek Bicycle PDX. To get you “bike-ready” for Classic, though, we have three tips to share.
Our Top Tips for Classic
Consider a tire change
Something you really might consider is a switch to slightly wider tires. For comfort over a week of riding, many people feel a big difference when using 25c-28c tires instead of skinny 23s. Another tip is to run your tire pressure down around 85-90 psi or even lower depending on the tire brand specifications. These two changes will both make for a much smoother roll. Remember; it’s not a race – and you’ll be surprised when you find that these two changes don’t affect your performance… just your comfort. There are numerous contemporary studies on the subject including this one from PNW rider and tire guru Jan Heine. Remember to check tire pressure daily, it’s the number one tip to keep your bike rolling its smoothest each day.
Replace your cleats ahead of the event
One of the most important contact points over the course of a long ride is the shoe/pedal interface. Integral to this connection is the cleat attached to your shoe yet it’s one of the most commonly ignored components in terms of maintenance. Cleats will wear out from use over time and that wear is accelerated if walked on often. When do worn cleats fail? Almost always the day you really, really want to ride. We strongly recommend that you check your cleats right now and then several weeks ahead of your departure for Classic. (If you’re signed up for a professional bike fit your technician will ensure you have a fresh pair of cleats as a result).
The human body can be fickle and particular so don’t simply swap in new cleats the night before Classic. Ensure that the new cleats are in line with where your old cleats are located and give yourself a few rides after installation to ensure that positioning is correct and bolts are securely tightened.
The team from Trek Bicycle PDX will have a wide range of service parts at the event but times and bicycles have changed since they set up their repair stands for our first event in 1988. In addition to the wide range of brake manufacturers and models available today we are still experiencing a supply chain shortage within the bike industry and brake pads are a common item that has been harder-to-find. We recommend grabbing an extra pad set or two at your next tune-up and adding them to your “Packing for the Classic” list.