Gear Up for Tour de Farm: Basic Bike Maintenance Tips from Blue Sky Bicycles!

1.       Keep your chain clean and lubed.

The easiest way to clean your chain is purchase a bicycle chain cleaning kit.  The kit comes with a plastic clam-shell case that will enclose the chain while you pedal it through cleaning solvent. We strongly recommend a citrus (i.e. biodegradable) cleaning solvent.

Without a chain cleaning kit, use a sponge or soft bristle brush to wash your chain well, paying special attention to outer plates on the chain.  Rinse the chain with clean water and wipe dry with a clean cotton rag.  Re-lube the chain by dripping a recommended lubricant (e.g., TriFlow or ProLink) on the top of the chain as you pedal backwards slowly.

Let the bike sit for 10 minutes to allow the lubricant to work slowly into the chain.  Take a clean cotton rag, hold it loosely on the chain and pedal backwards again.  This allows the lube to work into the pins while removing any excess lube from the other plates of the chain.

Learn how to fix a flat bicycle tire!

2.      Maintain correct tire pressure.

Check your tire pressure regularly and top off as needed.  If you run low tire pressure, you have a much higher chance of getting pinch flats and will need to replace tires long before the tread is worn due to the cracks in the sidewall.  Purchasing a good quality floor pump with a gauge is highly recommended and will save you aggravation and money in both the short and long term.

3.     Remember to schedule regular tune-ups and replace parts as they wear out.

Schedule a yearly tune-up before the start of each riding season.  Replace brake pads and cables as often as necessary.  Depending on the type of bike, your style of riding and variety of weather conditions being ridden in, this might be every 2,000 miles or less.   We strongly recommend a complete overhaul every 3,000 – 5,000 miles to keep your bike rolling.

4.      A clean bike is a happy bike. 

Keep your bike clean.  If you get caught in the rain, dry your bike off when you get home and re-lube the chain.  After a ride, wipe down the frame with citrus degreaser, then use a polish (e.g. Pedros Bike Lust) to protect the frame.  A clean bike looks great and clean parts last longer.  Don’t be lazy.

5.      Empower yourself:  take a class!

Blue Sky Bicycles offers FREE Fix-a-Flat and Basic Maintenance classes twice a month.  Check the Events Calendar at http://www.blueskybicycles.com for the full schedule.  Remember:  flat tires will occur, but they are no big deal if you are prepared.

The Basic Maintence Clinic at Blue Sky. Handy!

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Tour de Farm in the Saratogian!

Hey, wouldya look at that!  The Saratogian wrote an awesome article about Tour de Farm today!  Paul Post wrote about the message behind Tour de Farm (Protect our working farms!  Protect our scenery around the Battlefield!), as well as highlighted some of our most interesting stops.

Click here to see the article!

Riders, geared and ready for Tour de Farm!

Get in Shape with weekly rides with Blue Sky Bicycles, a TDF Sponsor!

Looking for some fun people to ride with? Blue Sky Bicycles is leading a series of weekly group rides to help you achieve your fitness goals. Be it Beginner Mondays, Tuesday Night “World Championships,” Wednesday Women’s Rides or Mountain Bike Thursdays on the SMBA trails, make it a point to come out and improve your form and boost your fun factor. Consult Blue Sky’s Events Calendar for full details:  http://www.blueskybicycles.com/community/events.asp

Ticket Giveway through “Eat Local” Blog

You could win two free tickets to Tour de Farm!

Happy to be exercising and getting good food soon!

The Eat Local blog on timesunion.com will be giving away two free tickets to Tour de Farm.  All you have to do is write your favorite local snack after a bike ride, hike, or run in the comments section of the Eat Local Blog.  You have until 5pm on Wednesday, July 25 to enter.  A winner will be chosen at random and notified immediately.

Click here to enter!

Good luck!

All ready for Tour de Farm!

Two New Stops!

We’re pleased to announce Ensign Brook Farm and Booth Farm as two new exciting stops along the 15-mile route.

A beautiful sheep farm, Ensign Brook has three different registered flocks – Romney, Merino-crosses, and Cheviot – which yield whole range of fibers.  This variety allows for interesting and unique yarns and roving, which are spun in small quantities to ensure quality.  Also available are watercolor and landscape paintings by Karin, the farmer herself!  You won’t want to miss what will surely be a fun stop!

Booth Farm has an interesting history and currently produces compost for sale.  From their website: “Six generations of Booths have run a dairy farm along the Hudson on what was originally part of the Schuyler Land Grant. The growth of the dairy business raised concerns for the surroundings, especially the beautiful Hudson River. Kevin Booth began experimenting with composting to better manage the animal waste. Today, after many years of experimentation, education, and determination, Booth’s Blend compost, an all natural product, is available to help you create beautiful plantings.”  Their farm overlooks the Saratoga Battlefield, a sight you won’t want to miss!