When you think of summer, what images come to mind? The beach? Sun? Picnics?
To me, summer is all about riding a bicycle, cruising along, feeling the wind on your face and having the freedom to travel anywhere without worrying about traffic, parking, or speed limits.
This summer, both of my kids became proficient bicycle riders thanks to bike camp, and I have spent most of my waking hours riding with them. To and from day camp, leisurely evening rides after dinner, book-gathering quests to the library. My kids equate bicycles with independence, and every time I ride with them I cherish the experience.
In order to have this idyllic bike riding venture, you need to have your two wheels in working order. Whenever I walk into a bike store, I am completely overwhelmed, not knowing what I need, how to get my bike there (Do I put it in the car? Do I ride it there then walk home? How long is it going to take?).
I had been riding, out of necessity because I didn’t expect my kids to want to ride with me, a rust-bucket that I purchased off Craigslist for $20 when I lived in the city that had been stored in our attic. It barely creaked along the sidewalks of my suburban hometown, gears grinding and slipping as I furiously pedaled to keep up with my kids. I knew that I needed a new bike, but um…I had no clue how to assemble one or what to get.
I heard about a service called Beeline Bikes that provided mobile service- as in, they have a van-slash-bike shop that will come to your home or work and assemble or tune-up your bike. No figuring out how to get your bike to the story, no waiting around for hours while someone eventually gets to your bike. You book an appointment, they show up, and- in my case- less than an hour later you have a correctly assembled and aligned bike ready to ride.
I worked with Beeline to find a vendor who carried the bicycle of my dreams- a mint green cruiser that had room in front for a white wicker basket. I had the bike delivered to one of Beeline’s locations, and on the scheduled date and time they appeared in front of my home ready to assemble.
The mobile workshop was a sight to see- it included every single gadget and gizmo needed to assemble or tune up a bike, from tire tubes to spare pedals, grease to locks. They also have every specialty bicycle tool available to fix all issues from chain wear to worn disc rotors to wheel misalignment. (Ummm…all I have at home is a few screwdrivers and a wrench…definitely need experts for this).
I peppered the mechanic with a million questions since I am such a bicycle novice. He shared some words of wisdom with me that I thought I would pass along, and yes, he pretty much knew everything there was to know about bicycles
- If a bicycle is pre-assembled at a store/display model, it might not be put together correctly. Big box stores in particular might not have a bicycle expert to assemble them.
- With disc brake bikes, you need to go through a process called “bedding in” to ensure that they don’t glaze over the pads and not work well.
- Ensure that cables are pre-stressed or they might come out of adjustment after a few months of use.
- Safety issues can include over-torquing or stripping parts, which can cause major issues during riding.
- Bikes can be shipped with over-tightened bearings- an expert can tell what is the right tension.
- If not properly greased, parts like the bicycle seat post/frame can fuse together in cold weather.
- Use a paintbrush to grease parts in order to grease them accurately.
If this sounds like Greek to you, we are in the same boat. I had no clue that there were so many working parts to consider on the assembly and maintenance of a bicycle. Me? I have just hopped on and ignored any issues until I couldn’t go any further. Not the best train of thought, I know.
Overall, the experience with Beeline Bikes was seamless. My mechanic took my new bike for a test drive so he could make sure that everything was in working order. I know many friends who ride their bikes to work and would use this service during the weekday in order to have zero bicycle downtime since Beeline travels to home or the office. Personally, I loved having them come to my home and next time plan on scheduling a family tune-up to ensure everyone’s cycles are in tip-top shape for the season!
Cheers to cruising along on your bicycle, feeling the fresh air, with a bottle of vino tucked into your basket!
Disclosure: I was provided with service from Beeline for review purposes- all opinions are honest and my own as always.