Bicycle check & Co.: This is how you start the cycling season safely

February 1, 2024

The days are getting longer, the temperatures are rising and the first plants are emerging from the ground. Spring is approaching and with it the streets, cycle paths and sidewalks are filling up again with bicycles, scooters, e-bikes, pedestrians and wheelchair users.

You can find out here what you need to consider at the start of the season, when the cycling season actually starts and whether now is a good time to buy a new bike.

When does the cycling season start?

For many people, the cycling season is not dependent on a fixed day, but rather on a feeling. The feeling of the spring sun on your skin, the feeling of warm temperatures and a mild wind.

Of course, there are those who enjoy the feeling of riding a bike even in winter, in snow and ice. But most people start pedaling again at the end of February and beginning of March. This year March 2nd and 3rd are Saturday and Sunday. So if you want to get going right at the beginning of March, you should aim for these days. If you prefer it a little warmer, you might want to wait until the end of March. The start of spring on March 20, 2024 falls in the middle of the week, which means it should be warm enough again on March 23 and 24.

Regardless of whether your cycling season begins in spring or whether you use your bike all winter long: as the temperatures get warmer and the days get longer, the riding conditions and road conditions also change. The bike should also undergo a lengthy check to ensure it is roadworthy and safe to ride, especially if it has not been ridden in winter. But remember: Even in spring, you'll be extra visible with Flasher if it's already dark on the way home.

Do I have to have a professional bike check?

If you don't buy a new bike, but get your old bike out of the winter break, you should pay attention to its ability to ride. With a bicycle, e-bike or e-scooter you can check a lot of things yourself. This ranges from smaller tasks such as visual inspections of the tires and lighting to larger maintenance work such as adjusting the gears, repairing the tires or servicing the bicycle chain.

In any case, take enough time to carry out the bike check. If you perform the review under stress or time constraints, you could miss important details. If you have two left hands or simply don't have the time or desire to do a self-check, you can also have a professional spring check done. In general, to ensure the longevity of your vehicle, it is recommended to have it serviced once a year.

In any case, for a quick self-check you only need a small collection of tools and not a lot of time.

Below you will find a checklist for the ideal start to the cycling season.

Checklist for the start of the cycling season

When you check your vehicle for road safety, make sure that the brakes, reflectors, lights and bell are in place.

In addition, there are things you should consider in order to not only have a roadworthy vehicle, but also one that is as durable and roadworthy as possible. In short, everything that is supposed to move must move and everything that is not supposed to move must be rigid.

Absolutely necessary checkpoints:

  • Note the availability of mandatory equipment
  • Check brakes
  • Check drive
  • Check tires
  • Check lighting

Here you can find the measures in detail:

Check brakes

The brake are mandatory equipment and must be checked for wear and function. If necessary, the brake can be adjusted on the handlebars or tire so that it pulls firmly again. However, this should not compensate for wear on the brake shoes.

Check drive

The bicycle chain is obviously extremely important and at the same time has to withstand great force. Rust can damage the structure, dirt can accelerate wear and tear. Use a brush and rag to clean the chain and gears of debris and old oil. After cleaning, the chain is lubricated with chain oil. Make sure that the chain oil does not drip onto the ground or the rest of the bike and that - after waiting about 10 minutes - you wipe off any excess oil from the chain.

Check tires

Visually inspect the tire casing for damage and wear. Inflate intact tires to the recommended tire pressure listed on the tire casing. If the air pressure escapes too quickly, your air hose may be damaged. You can find out how to change the air hose or the tire casing here. If you followed our tip and let some air out of your tires over the winter to have more grip on slippery roads, you can now fill the tire up again. This saves energy and wear and tear when the road surface is already more grippy.

Check lighting

Lighting is essential in spring when it gets dark earlier and also in summer when you are out and about late in the evening. Make sure that the headlights and reflectors (front, rear, pedals and spokes) are not dirty and that the power supply is working. You can also use additional lighting such as direction indicators on your bike or e-scooter. In the future, indicators can also be attached directly to the bike, which increases maintenance costs. If you use worn indicators such as Flasher or helmets, check the charge level. With helmets, also make sure that the foam is still intact.

What tools do I need for a bike self-check?

The most important things for a quick and thorough check of your bike before the start of the season are:

  • Allen keys (also known as Allen keys) in various sizes from 2-10mm
  • Wrenches (open-end wrenches, open-end wrenches) in various sizes from 8-16mm
  • Screwdriver or screwdriver (for both slotted screws and Phillips screws)
  • Gloves
  • Cleaning sponge and cloth as well as a clean cloth to dry off
  • Air pump

Is now the best time to buy a new bike?

The best time to buy a new bike depends on what dealers offer, the demand for bikes and the availability of models. These three elements must be cheap at the same time so that you can find the best deal for yourself. The ideal time is therefore usually after the end of the cycling season of the year, i.e. the end of October or November.

You have to imagine it like this: The cycling season is coming to an end, many dealers still have a remaining stock of bikes that they had purchased for the season of the year. At the same time, however, far fewer people ride bicycles in winter, which means that demand for the vehicles drops sharply. Dealers want to use the winter break to buy new bikes for the next season and need the space in the warehouse, which is why they often sell the remaining stocks at a steep discount .

This year and last year, there are other points that make sales particularly cheap: Due to the pandemic and raw material prices, there were often delivery bottlenecks and delays. At the same time, the demand for bicycles and e-bikes increased immensely a few years ago.

In the last two years, delayed deliveries were met and there was a large oversupply in both 2022 and 2023. The dealers' warehouses are even more full than usual at the end of the year. Since the next cycling season is already approaching, it can be assumed that there will again be an oversupply of bicycles at the end of this year, which will result in big discounts at the end of the year .

In any case, before the start of the cycling season is the ideal time to stock up on the most important basic equipment , such as a helmet, good lighting and bright clothing.