The Pedalshift Project 016: Spring bicycle maintenance and touring apps

A quick jaunt to Hilton Head, SC… a call for your April overnight stories… trying out some mobile apps for bike touring… and spring bike maintenance recommendations all on this episode of The Pedalshift Project.

pedalshiftproject016Hey it’s the direct download link for episode 016 (mp3)

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Five stars on iTunes!
New To Touring by J.Har

I’m planning my first bike tour for this September. I found TPSP and listened to the entire back log of episodes within a week. It’s both entertaining and informative: exactly what I was looking for. I particularly enjoy episodes that are heavy on touring stories.

If you use iTunes and dig the show, ratings like these helps to spread the word… thanks J. Har!

The Journal

Hilton Head, SC as a bike touring destination

  • IMG_244860 miles of separated bike paths all around and across the island
  • Tons of beach access points
  • Decent bike parking at many businesses
  • Biking is almost certainly faster than driving on the island during peak season’s car traffic.
  • Town of Hilton Head Island bike pathways
  • Downside: no real tent camping opportunities I could find. Bandit camping might be an option, but could be tricky to pull off.

April overnights

A lot of us in North America are thawing out and April is probably the month most of us can get out for the first time. Let’s all do it – the whole month of April I’ll mention everyone who gets out and Tweets, Instagrams, emails or messages the show on FB about their overnight adventure. We have three shows 4/1, 4/15 and 4/29 so get cracking!

The Lab

Trying some iOS apps for the road

Gear Talk

Spring overhaul recommendations

If you haven’t done anything on your touring bike in over a year other than change tubes and do minor adjustments, it’s time to do an overhaul before the season kicks in.
  • Bearings: I let these go too long typically, and ensuring your wheel hubs, bottom bracket and top tube bearings are clean and solid is too important to let go too long. Unless you’re really handy, this is a good LBS chore.
  • Tires: don’t let me blowout story happen to you. Carefully examine your tires for cracks and weaknesses. If they’ve been exposed to a lot of sun, they might degrade quicker than you imagine. I’m a huge fan of Schwalbe tires (no flats on the entire Pacific Coast tour!) but there are other great brands. Spending more on tires is worth it.
  • Cables and pads: if you haven’t changed your cables in a season or more, it might be worth considering. At least make sure you drop a little lubrication in there. Clean those break pads or if you’re on disc brakes, check the alignment.
  • Bike maintenance recommendation chart


The Pedalshift Project theme is America courtesy of Jason Kent off his self-titled solo album. Check out his band Sunfields‘ new release, Habitat, wherever cool music resides. And hey, new video for Ghost!


  1. ethan says:

    Good episode! Especially the bike maintenance. This is definitely the time of year for that. My chain is rattling & I need to check on my brake pads & I probably would’ve forgotten without the reminder. Thank you.

    Funny touring blow-out story: I rode roughly 400 miles on a variety of terrain with the bike’s original tires. They were almost 3 years old & had a lot of miles but, like most people, I didn’t think anything about it. I got home safe, but days later I was at the office & the bike was beside my desk. Suddenly there was a gunshot & my bike rocked gently on the kickstand. My rear tire had blown. I consider myself pretty lucky.

  2. Tim Mooney says:

    Thanks Ethan! I did my usual spring work a little early this year because my bike was so utterly and completely out of whack from the long trips last season and I knew it needed some real TLC at the shop. I’m glad I did because we’ve done a few trips down south and it was nice to have it in tip top shape for the day trips we took.

    That’s a crazy story about your tire blowout. Our bikes are such workhorses and seem like they’re invincible… until they aren’t! I’ve become a big proponent of higher end tires, the ability adjust one’s brakes on the fly and clean drivetrains. If you can maintain those three things, you can feel pretty confident about your bike for a commute or a tour.

  3. JohnnyK says:

    Now is this the bicycle angel you were talking about? hahaha Anyway I digress, I’m one of the fortunate ones that live in the southern part of the US so I get to ride year around but I still have to clean my bike after the 2 month winter that we have just to get all the road crud off of it. Also being this close to the ocean requires me to be a bit more vigilant at keeping the bike clean. Metal and sea water don’t go together well. A city
    Yeah I don’t own a cell phone so I can’t help ya on that part. I personally use the Sigma Sport cycle computer it has the ability to doc to my PC and upload all the data off the cycle computer via USB. I wish they would come out with a bluetooth/wireless version so I don’t have to connect it to the pc with a USB cable. Anyway I have their older 1609 wired version as in the sensors speed and cadence are wired and the computer docs on the handlebar to them. I have tried the wireless versions but trying to change multiple batteries is a pain so I went with the wired sensors and now I just have to change the battery in the cycle computer. Now the Sigma comes with software called datacenter which is really for tracking training sessions (bike racing or exercising) but I have made it work for commuting and touring and I only fill out the parts that I am interested in. The new version of the software is nice but I couldn’t get it to work right with this older cycle computer. Even-though I am a computer geek I tend to be a bit old school when it comes to these things because I have found that the older technology tends to stand up to the rigors of cycling in all weather conditions. I have thought about getting one of those new Garmin cycle computers like this one made just for touring but if I bought that I could probably just buy a cell phone either way they would have to be charged and then I would need to add another expense by either getting a dynamo hub like you have Tim or stop along the way and hunt for an outlet. Anyway the battery in the Sigma has lasted almost a year now and that is about what I would expect it to do. Who knows the geek in me may take over and I get the thing anyway hehehe…
    I try to do as much of maintenance as I can but like you said you have to have the correct tools. So replacing cables and sprockets and barrings or bottom brackets I leave that to the professionals. Simple things like adjusting breaks replacing break pads, tire/tube replacements I do myself. I have even replaced the occasional chain is not outside what I would be willing to do as far as keeping it going. I say if you are not sure how to do something take it to your LBS but ask if you can watch how they do it and if they are really nice they may have teach you how to perform the repair. Anyway the LBS is there for that reason and you should look around for a good one and don’t assume that they are all the same because they are not. Well another fine show Tim I really enjoyed it.

  4. Tim Mooney says:

    I think you have the right idea on the Local Bike Shop (“LBS”) test… if you’re not sure on something, take it in. That said there are two other options I should have mentioned: (1) learn – YouTube and your LBS can be great learning resources and you’ll be shocked what you can pick up in a video or at a “learn to clean your drivetrain” class at your shop. (2) Bike co-ops – a lot of cities have these popping up where you get access to a full set of higher end bike tools to do the work yourself. The co-ops can be membership, per-use fees, or a combo. I don’t have one terribly convenient to me in this part of DC, but I have an outstanding array of LBSs, so I tend to go there. Thanks again for insight Johnny K! BTW, I hear *meh* things about that Garmin from Mysterious James, so if you get it and have a different experience, definitely share it here!

    • JohnnyK says:

      The *meh* factor is why I have not gotten it yet. My Sigma is simple and gives me the info I want for the most part. I usually get maps and plan my route on MapQuest long before the ride so really the gps part is not really needed. Besides you can take in a lot of culture when you get lost hehehe. Especially if you have to stop and ask for directions. Although for safety sake I thought it may be good to have. The idea of making a wrong turn and running out of water and not know how long before you get to some place that has water is not a good feeling. I am sure many a touring cyclist has had that thought in the back of their head.

What do you think?