So you’ve had your bike serviced ready for the summer but what about the rest of your kit?
That thing that protects your head in an accident… yes, it probably needs a bit of TLC.
First things first, you sweat in it so make sure the pads get a wash every now and then (it will improve your comfort and prolong their life). You can either pull them out and give them a rinse, or give your whole helmet a rinse under the tap (lukewarm water is best) and then air dry it. Next, make sure it’s still going to protect your head – straps still work, the outer shell hasn’t received any ill-treatment and everything is still where it should be. UV exposure degrades the lightweight materials that helmets are constructed from so if it’s showing signs of wear you should replace it. Most manufacturers recommend replacement at least every 3 years, some more often. The major rule however is that if your helmet has had any impact at all, replace it.
Check out our Which Helmet? Blog for tips on the right helmet for you.
Sunglasses, apart from topping off your ‘look’ have their own purposes – protecting your eyes from glare and from foreign objects and allowing you unobstructed vision. Obviously if the lenses are scratched you’ll have difficulty seeing out of them but also the UV protection will be compromised and therefore less protective. How about giving them a clean as well – you can use a proper lens cleaning solution or again run them under a lukewarm tap. Make sure when you dry them off you use a lens specific cloth so you protect the lenses from damage.
YES, gloves are designed to be washed so if you haven’t been washing yours hop to it. Again, washing will prolong their life (as long as you adhere to the washing instructions) and they’ll be more comfortable if you get rid of all that sweat, sticky energy drinks and any other substances they may have come in contact with. Stick them in a wash bag to protect your other gear from velcro fasteners.
As your major connection with your bike, maintaining your shoes is super important. We don’t mean that you should be getting out your nugget and brushes and giving them a shine, but we do recommend that you ensure that the closures are working properly, whether they are Velcro straps, ratchet buckles or laces; check your cleats and make sure they are free from obstructions that could prevent your from clipping in or unclipping, that they are firmly attached to your shoes (in the right position), and are in good working order, make sure your heel pads are still there and aren’t too worn and while you’re at it why not give your shoes a wipe down so you continue to look the part?
Get the lowdown on how shoes maketh the cyclist.
Lycra needs special attention when washing and is susceptible to degradation from UV exposure so make sure you follow the washing instructions. Look after them and they will look after you. Saggy worn nicks not only look bad, but they’re uncomfortable and not doing their job of protecting your delicate nether regions from chafing and ensuring you get the best ride. Replace them!
Jerseys protect you from UV exposure, wick away your sweat and provide you with a place to keep your phone, coffee money, spare tube, etc. You’ve probably got heaps of old ones that you don’t even wear because they don’t fit or they’re ugly… For the ones that you do wear, make sure your jersey is a good fit so it will wick moisture away from your skin, make sure if provides UV protection and that it’s comfortable.
Happy, comfortable and safe cycling!