Family Bike Maintenance for Spring

Do you need to do some family bikes maintenance after a Winter stored in the shed? Are the kids itching to get out on their bikes but you really need to check the brakes and raise the saddle? Never fear, we are here with a definitive guide to sorting out the family bikes ready for the better weather.

Family Bike Maintenance for the Spring

Just keeping the family bikes in great condition is really simple and there are just a few things you need to check to ensure the bikes are safe and road worthy.

Muc off1. Hose Down and Clean Up

If you have managed to get out on your bikes with the kids over the Winter, it’s likely that the bikes are now covered in mud and dirt. That’s to be expected, and the sign of a good outing! You do need to clean this all off though, to ensure the bike stays in tip-top condition. We have a good selection of bike cleaning kits available in the shop.

If you’re really serious about cleaning up your bike, and you have done some pretty serious cycling over the Winter, this video has some great tips.

2. Check for Size

What do we mean here? Well get the children to hop on their bikes and check how much they’ve grown. You’ll be surprised how much the saddle and handlebars need adjusting! When kids are learning to ride, it’s important for them to be able to put their feet flat on the ground to aid balance, but as they get more proficient you can raise the saddle so they just have their tip toes on the floor. If you want more precision, take a look at this saddle height calculator for more information.

3. Puncture Repairs

bicycle-tires-236931_640It’s likely that when you haul the bikes out of the shed, at least one of them will have a puncture. If you’re lucky and they don’t, you still need to check the tyres and pump them up correctly. Invest in a few puncture repair accessories so you always have the correct parts to hand, and for a step by step guide check out this great guide from Rutland cycling. Be careful not to over-inflate the tyres, as this can make the ride uncomfortable and dangerous, in fact. Identify the correct tyre pressure, which is usually written on the side of the tyre or from the manufacturer’s handbook, then removed the dust caps from the valve and attach the pump. Start pumping, and remember to test the tyre pressure once you’ve finished to ensure the correct levels. Then replace the dust caps and make them finger tight.

4. Brakes

Check the brakes pads are properly aligned, and are hitting the bike rim evenly. Inspect the brake pads and ensure there’s nothing embedded in them. Use a knife or sharp object to remove any dust and so prevent the pads becoming unduly worn, or the grit scratching the rims.

5. Oil the Chain

Finally, take a good look at the chain and apply the appropriate lubricant. Use a lightweight oil specially designed for bikes but if you’re not sure, drop us a line and we can help.

So now the bikes are all ready for the Spring! We hope you have a great time out on the bikes with your family.

Do you have any other family bike maintenance tips?

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How to Help your Child Become a Confident Cyclist

Help your child become a confident cyclistA while ago now we wrote about how to teach your kids to ride a bike, with lots of tips and even a video to inspire you. But what happens if you’re past this stage and your child can now ride their bike, but is lacking confidence? What’s the best approach then? How do you get them enthusiastic about riding a bike when they are anxious?

It’s true that some children will take longer than others when they’re learning to ride a bike. Gaining confidence to be independent on a bike is all part of the learning curve and some will take a while to get there. It’s really important (and often very difficult!) to be very patient. Getting cross or short-tempered with them will do more harm than good, and no-one will be having a good time. When you can get them out on their bike give them lots of praise and encouragement and don’t push them too far.

Back to Basics:

If you’re child has learned to ride their bike but lacks the ability to do it confidently, maybe take some time to go over the basics, for both of you. From a parent’s point of view, ensure your child feels comfortable and safe on their bike. Check their helmet for a good fit, give them some knee and elbow pads if they’re afraid of hurting themselves if they fall, and ensure the bike is the right size and the saddle in the right position. Some children find balancing quite hard when the bike is heavy, so ensure the weight of your child’s bike isn’t causing them a problem.

Practice, Practice, Practice:

Do you think your child isn’t confident on their bike through a lack of practice? It’s certainly true that in the Winter months a new, young cyclist may lose some of their cycling skills if they aren’t having the chance to use them. The more opportunities you can give them to practice the more confident they are going to be.

Start Small:

We all know that a lack of confidence needs a nurturing and encouraging attitude to help build it up. If your child is refusing to go out on bike rides with the family it’s time to think small again. Take the time to give your child some one to one cycling, over a short distance for a short time. Take it easy, offer the praise and know when to stop. If the last thing the child remembers is a successful experience, they are more likely to try it again next time. If you can, take them to a quiet, smooth and easy park or path to help build that confidence and feel good about being out on a bike. Slowly build up the trips over time, taking care to always end on a high note.

For some children, particularly if they’ve had a bad experience it may take some time to build up their confidence. You may even want to start again and take them back to the balance bike stage although not all children will respond well to going ‘backwards’.

However you approach this, your time, encouragement and praise will eventually pay off. Just be patient and they will get there.

We have lots of kids bikes and accessories that make your child’s cycling experience fun and exciting so get in touch or check out the website if you think we can help.

Christmas Bike Club: Saving for Christmas

Christmas Bike ClubImage Credit

Over the last week we’ve been writing about going back to school and being safe on the roads, a surefire sign that we’re heading our way to Christmas! We know it’s not what you want to hear so that’s why we think it’s important to continue running our popular Bike Christmas Club.

Cycle Centre is a family run and owned business, having been in the Hopkirk family for 3 generations since 1936. Good old-fashioned family values are really important to us, and we want our customers to know that too. We’re approachable, down to earth and realistic. We won’t bombard you with fancy technical jargon, (although we can if you like that!) but we will offer you a quality service that will make you come back to us time and time again.

Part of history and tradition is our Bike Christmas Club. We know times can be hard for many of us and having to find the money to pay for Christmas can be stressful and worrying. If your kids want new bikes this year, this is our way of making Christmas easier for your. The Cycle Centre Christmas Club is a good old-fashioned way to save for your kids’ Christmas bikes. Reserve your bike for a £10 deposit and just pay a little each week towards the cost, or pay for the full amount when you come to collect the week before Christmas. We can store it, build it and even deliver it if you wish. And if you order in September we will give you £10 off your bike and £10 towards accessories.

We know it’s only September and you may not have given Christmas much thought yet, but we’re ready and able to help you with our Bike Christmas Club so have a look at the website and see what we have available.

You can check out our range here at Cycle Centre and find out more about our Christmas Club here.