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Just like a car, your bicycle requires tune-ups, repairs

At the Route Bike Shop in Red Wing, more and more people are bringing in their old bikes in hopes of hitting the road this summer on a less costly set of wheels.

Bikes don't guzzle down gas at $4 a gallon, of course, but they are like vehicles in another sense: They need a tune-up from time to time.

Andrew Petersen, store manager at The Route, said it's important to give bikes a quick safety check before hitting the road.

One of the most common problems can be with the chains, Petersen said, and their lack of lubrication.

"A chain will squeak to high heaven if it is not lubed right," Petersen said.

Avoid using common household products like WD-40 to lube bicycle chains. Those products, Petersen said, don't have the proper lubrication qualities for a bicycle chain.

Most bike shops have specially made lubricants for bicycles.

Here are some other tips for getting your bike ready for the summer season.

• Make sure everything on the bike like handlebars and lights are tightened down properly and securely.

• Lube any pivot points.

• Bring bikes in yearly for tune-ups.

• Bring bikes in immediately if the show any signs of problems.

• Make sure your bike is the right fit for you.

"Bike fit is the No. 1 think that will make a bike comfortable," Petersen said. "And if it's comfortable, it will be fun to ride."

• Keep your bike stored in a location without a lot of moisture.

• If purchasing a new bike, make sure it fits the type of riding you're going to use it for. Don't by a rugged mountain bike if you'll spend your summer riding on paved trails.