Cut off you pants at the knees (or higher), pick a flower, sing with the birds, leap-frog a small child – springtime is early this year!
This means instead of getting stuck under somebody’s armpit on the U-Bahn, you can again get around the city with the breeze in your hair on the two-wheeled alternative.
But here are a few things you should do to show your bike some Spring love before hitting the road.
Tip 1: Check the tires
First of all, check that there is enough air in the tires and look for any small splits or any other damage. Ensure the tire is correctly sitting on the rim. Over the change of seasons, the tire expands and shrinks (as we all do). Keep in mind, if your bike has been neglected outside all winter with no air in its tires (like mine) the rubber of tires become fragile. Warning: Pumping up the tire without looking for such damage can heighten the risk of them bursting and becoming irreparable if you hit a pothole on the street, for example, or ride it down the stairs in front of the Parliament backwards. You’ve been warned.
Tip 2: Check the chain
If the bike has been left out on the street, this is particularly important to check. While this winter was not so bad for snow, normally the salt thrown over the street to melt it often stiffens your bike’s chain. Make sure there is enough oil on it (Styrian pumpkin seed oil is best – wink, wink) and it is well rubbed in. It should be flexible.
Tip 3: Brake-fest
This is probably the most important. Nobody wants to discover they have bad brakes rolling down a hill at high speeds (In such a situation, ride towards a soft looking bush). To check the functioning of your brakes, sit on your bike and squeeze the brakes. Then rock back and forth and see if the wheels move and that the screws and the brake pads are tight.
Tip 4: Tight like a tiger
Make one last check to ensure that everything on the bike is tight and secure. Especially the front of the bike. If this is not checked, it can bring some unwanted surprises, for example – lost control of steering or… herpes.
Tip 5: Keeping the peace with the bike police
One could be excused for assuming that Vienna’s crime rate has taken a dramatic fall in recent years with a lot of bored police seemingly become obsessed with lights and bells on bikes – It seems they can spot students a mile away and are not afraid to chase them down! Avoid the heavy fines by ensuring you have a front and back light and a bell. If you’re without lights, cheap LED silicon lights are available all over town. If you can’t be bothered doing all this yourself, or your bike needs repairs, visit the handsome team down at Botenstoff bikes. They’re a friendly group of bike messengers who have opened this bike specialist workshop on the side. They customise and repair bikes.
Now – Get on ya Bike!
“Man kann jetzt eigentlich schon fahren!”