University of Calgary

Bike to Work Day

Get ready for Bike to Work Day

Don’t forget that April 20 is Bike to Work Day, organized by Parks Foundation Calgary and the City of Calgary to encourage more Calgarians to use pedal power to get to and from work—reducing traffic congestion and pollution from vehicles.

At the University of Calgary, the day will be celebrated with free juice, fruit and mini-bagels beginning at 7:30 a.m. at the east entrance of the Kinesiology complex for everyone arriving by bicycle—along with gifts and prizes from Healthy U of C and the Outdoor Centre.

When it comes to tuning up your bike for the upcoming season, it’s recommended that riders do a little more than wipe off the dust and inflate soft tires. Regular maintenance will extend the life of your bike and its parts, as well as ensure you have a bike that is safe and roadworthy. Here are a few tips to kick off your spring.

• For those who ride or commute on a regular basis, have your bearings overhauled and your drive-train inspected every six months.

• Check for chain wear and replace, if necessary. Count 20 links on your chain (pulled tight). The pin-to-pin measurement should be exactly 10 inches. If longer by 1/16 inch or more, you need a new chain.

• If OK, clean the chain with an old toothbrush and citrus solvent, then lube.

• Carry some basic bicycle tools and spare parts. A few spare parts helpful to have on hand include brake cables, brake pads, six feet of derailleur cable housing and six feet of brake cable housing.

• Tighten any loose bolts. Starting from the front of the bike and working toward the rear will help to ensure a thorough job.

• Lightly grease the saddle rails. Check the chain-ring and cogs for any bent teeth.

• Check your headset, bottom bracket and hubs. If very gritty, you should probably overhaul.

• To check for headset tightness, apply the front brake and roll bike forward and backward. Wrap your hand where the headset and fork meet. Check for play.

• To check the bottom bracket, shift the front derailleur to the smallest chain ring, then lift the chain off. Spin the cranks. It should feel smooth with no lateral play, roughness or excessive resistance.

• To check the hubs, give the front wheel an easy push to spin two or three times. It should spin freely and come to a stop with a slight back and forth motion, rather than an abrupt stop. There should be no lateral play. Repeat for rear wheel after removing the chain.

• Lube the fork sliders of your front suspension.

• Make sure the boots at the bottom of the sliders are sealed. Wipe out any grit next to the seal with a clean cloth and reset the boots.

• Check grips for excessive wear. Replace, if necessary or remove and clean.

• Pedals should spin freely and make sure they are securely fastened to the crank arms.

• In addition, the following should be performed a couple of times during the spring riding season: Lube sliders and all cables (modern, plastic-lined cables don’t need lube); check and adjust shifting, as well as brakes; check tires for any wear.

For full information on the Outdoor Centre’s bike shop and repair clinics, go online to or phone 220-5038.