Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Maintenance Tip: 5 Solutions to Vexing Problems!

These tips originally appeared in the article A Quick-Fix Guide on Bicycling.com.

The weather is slowly turning nice and it’s about time you hit the road for your first training ride of the season. But are you have some issues getting your bike ready? Here are five solutions to help you repair common maintenance problems:

Every time you fix a puncture, the new tube goes flat.
If the holes in the tube are on the bottom, the rim strip may be out of position, allowing the tube to get cut by the spokes. If they're on the top, there may be some small sharp object stuck in the tire. Find it by running your fingers lightly around the inside of the tire, then remove it.

Frequent pinch flats.
Put more air in your tires.

A remounted tire won’t sit right on the rim.
Let the air out, wiggle the bad spot around, reinflate to about 30 psi, and roll the bad spot into place with your hands. By pushing the tire in toward the middle of the rim you will be able to see if any of the tube is poking out. When the tube is fully inside the tire, inflate as normal.

A patch won’t stick to the glue on the tube.
Apply more glue and let it dry completely--about five minutes. (Don't blow on the glue to try to make it dry faster--this can leave moisture from your breath on it, which hinders adhesion.) When you apply the patch, avoid touching its sticky side with your fingers.

Creaking sound from the wheels.
A spoke may have loosened. If tension is uniform, the sound might be caused by a slight motion of the spokes against each other where they cross. Lightly lube this junction, wiping off the excess.

Not handy when it comes to bike maintenance? Don’t worry! MS Friendly Bike Shops offer free inspections to all participants of the RONA MS Bike Tour.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Team Profile: Meet Doug & Marion’s MS Erasers!

When Sharen Robinson picked up a RONA MS Bike Tours brochure more than 20 years ago, she had no idea she would eventually be heading up a team of119 spirited cyclists.

Doug & Marion’s MS Erasers is made up of friends and family and, as Sharen puts it, “friends of family members and family members of friends”. Inspired by the team’s enthusiasm and attitude that cycling ability is less important than enjoying the tour, new members soon bring in other first-time riders.

Sharen has seen her share of changes in this family-oriented team. “People go through life changes, get married, have children,” she says. "Someone may miss a year because of other commitments, but we always have new people coming in as well.”

Much of the team’s success is also due to Doug and Marion Smith from Doug and Marion’s Bike Sales & Repairs in Strathroy, which promotes the tours, raises pledges, and helps recruit team members from the cycling community.

Sharen says that her next goal is to get 150 team members, and then perhaps 200. But her ultimate goal is even larger. “Every one of us is raising funds for a disease that we want to see eliminated. We ride for those who can’t.”

Want to share your experience? Leave us a ‘wall post’ on Facebook or a ‘tweet’ on Twitter! Your story could be featured in our next blog post!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fundraising Tip: Raise $1000 Without Breaking a Sweat!

If you’ve never fundraised before then getting started can seem a little challenging. However, you may be surprised at how easy it is to reach the $250 fundraising minimum and exceed your fundraising goals in no time.

Pledge yourself $50                                                                              $50
Ask 5 family members for $20                                                             $150
Ask 5 friends for $20                                                                          $250

Look at that! You’ve just met your pledge minimum. Keep up the hard work.

Ask 10 coworkers for $20                             $450
Ask 10 neighbours for $20                            $650
Ask two local businesses for $50                   $750
Host a summer BBQ and ask for pledges        $950
Keep a spare change jar at work                  $1000

Congratulations! You’ve just earned yourself a $1000 Club jersey. Now keep going! The fundraising possibilities are endless.

Have another great tip to share? Leave us a ‘wall post’ on Facebook or a ‘tweet’ on Twitter! You never know, your tip might even be included in our next blog post!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Maintenance Tip: The Under-Appreciated Headset

This article was written by Amanda Beattie and originally published on November 1, 2010 at CycleMagazine.ca. Photo by James Ramsay.

Though you can barely see them, headsets are arguably the most important part of your bicycle. If the components of the headset are poorly installed, it will quickly wear out, compromising both steering and bike handling. Vibrations from poor road conditions and from braking may cause your headset to loosen, so be sure to check the adjustment of your headset at the same time you check the bike’s tire pressure.

Alex Bowling, head mechanic at Neworld Cycle in Burlington, Ontario, said checking the adjustment of your headset is quick and simple to do. “Pulling the front brake tightly, rock the bicycle back and forth. If you feel a loose or knocking movement from the bars/stem/fork, then the headset needs to be tightened. Lift the front end of the bike off the ground and gently push the handlebars to either side. If they stop turning before making contact with the frame, then the headset is too tight.”

Older, threaded headsets require greater finesse and a pair of large wrenches to adjust properly, where most modern bikes use a threadless headset system, which require nothing more than three possible Allan keys for adjustment: 4 mm, 5 mm or 6 mm. Within threadless headset systems there are three different types; integrated, internal and traditional. Integrated and internal headsets are lighter and cheaper to produce and are quickly becoming an industry standard. The potential problem with this type, however, is that if they aren’t manufactured true, they will always feel loose or have chatter. Even the best bike mechanic can’t fix a poorly manufactured internal headset. The best way to make sure you don’t get a bike with an incorrectly aligned internal headset is to test ride before you buy. A good headset should take you around the corners, not require you to steer through them.

Finally, in a traditional threadless headset, cups are pressed into the frame using a bearing cup press. This tool ensures that alignment of the headset in the fork is true in the frame. Without proper headset bearing alignment, steering and handling become unreliable.

“To adjust a threadless headset, simply loosen the stem’s pinch-bolts, located near the headset, then gently tighten the top-cap bolt. This bolt - as it threads into a nut in the fork - snugs the stem, frame and headset components together. Once the stem bolt has been set, re-tighten the stem’s pinch-bolts. Check again to ensure that the headset has been adjusted correctly by again pulling the front break and rocking it back and forth. If you find that the headset simply will not tighten sufficiently, you may need additional spacers or the components have been installed incorrectly. In either case, take the bike to your local shop mechanic to diagnose” says Bowling.

A good quality headset can last the life of your bike, if not longer. But be aware that if you ride your bike on a trainer, sweat will drip onto and in your headset, corroding the bearings and various components. So, be sure to wipe down your bike after every session on the trainer, particularly the handle-bars, headset and stem.

Not handy when it comes to bike maintenance? Don’t worry! MS Friendly Bike Shops offer free inspections to all participants of the RONA MS Bike Tour.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fundraising Tip: Keep it Simple!

Last week we looked at creative ideas to help you maximize your fundraising efforts. This week our tip is to utilize the KISS principle to obtain extra pledges: Keeping it Simple and Straightforward!

Here are five examples of simple, yet effective techniques to incorporate into your overall fundraising strategy:

Update Your Voicemail Message. Update the message on your cell phone or answering machine to mention that you are fundraising for MS Bike.

Email Signature Line. Change the signature line of your outgoing emails to mention your involvement.

Tag Along. Why not bring out a potential donor with you to an Event Workshop or Pub Night. A casual get together is a great time to explain you’re the importance of their support.

Bulletins. Contact your place of worship, community center or other places where the community gathers and ask that they put an announcement of your involvement in their weekly bulletin.

Garage Sale. The staple in spring cleaning fundraising events. Ask your friends and family to donate any items that you could sell to maximize your total.

Lastly, start fundraising early. Implement these tips as soon as possible and you’ll find that you can dramatically increase your overall fundraising totals, enabling you to get much more out of your Tour!

Have another great tip to share? Leave us a ‘wall post’ on Facebook or a ‘tweet’ on Twitter! You never know, your tip might even be included in our next blog post!
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