What to say when you talk to your bike

Nobody likes being told they’ve been spotted talking to themselves, do they? Even if it’s something as innocuous as ordering a kettle to hurry up and boil. But chatting to your bicycle is completely different. If people complain that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness, talking to your bike merely demonstrates you are mad keen on cycling!

So whether you prefer to have these conversations in the seclusion of a garage/bike shed, or while you’re dressed in full cycling wear out on the road, there are many perfectly acceptable subjects to be freely discussed with your bike.

Of course your bike can never answer any of your questions but this is why you should anticipate these. Where a human might request assurance that they are not looking at all overweight, your bike might ask if its tyres are suitably pumped up, or in need of some attention.

You might then want to ask it how it’s body is feeling, especially after a hard weekend’s cross-country cycling or some serious mountain biking. As you soothingly reassure your bike that its frame has never looked so athletic and honed, give it a thorough check. The areas of the frame which have been welded are the most likely to develop cracks first. A common portion that undergoes wear and tear is the underside of the down tube. Pay particular attention if your beloved bike is built with a carbon frame. An apparent scratch in the ‘clearcoat’ could actually be a more serious crack in the frame. (A test is whether or not your fingernail can actually catch, in which case it’s likely to be the latter). If so, gently break it to your bike that you’ll need to take him/her into the shop.

Tell your bike that you need to attend to the seat. This is one part of the bicycle often overlooked when it comes to maintenance. Nevertheless, as it takes a lot of pressure, it should regularly be checked out. What you want to do is mark its height setting with a pencil, then remove the seatpost. You can always explain how much better it will look when you’ve cleaned this thoroughly. For steel or aluminium seats, you’ll want to apply a thin layer of grease around the section that fits inside the bike frame. If the seatpost is made from carbon, you’ll require specialised paste or grease. Either method will stop the post from bonding to the frame, while being gritty enough to stop slippage.