One of the things that is absolutely imperative before a cycling trip to France is giving my bike a very thorough cleaning. Today I broke it all down and did just that. Generally, I’ll remove the rear cassette (the rear gears) and the crankset (the front gears) along with both wheels. I give the frame a good cleaning, clean the chain and the wheels and then really scrub all the gears well before reassembling everything. This time I also put on new tubes, new tires, a new chain and new brake pads. Everything is clean, clean, clean and ready to go.
I like to do this about a week before I actually leave, just so I can make sure there aren’t any problems. One year I did my big cleaning the day before I was leaving and when I got the bike back together again there was a problem with the gears. That was no fun, figuring out what was wrong and getting it fixed knowing I had to leave the next day.
Here’s a photo all squeaky clean. I’ll take it out for a good hard ride tomorrow and make sure everything is running smoothly, but right now everything looks good.