Bike Life: Three Things To Do After Every Ride

by Cody Sovis

Leaving the house is often a ritualized, if a little rushed, regimen to make sure everything goes great out on the road or trail. But there’s value in including a few post-ride habits that will make it easier to ride next time and give you a second to breath before you rejoin the world.

For me, the ride is the escape. With long workdays, a baby, and about a million things to do, I guard that time on the bike rather jealously. Part of that means being efficient with how I store my stuff; I stagger my bikes to make the most-ridden the easiest to grab, with my daily rider perched in The Workstation for a quick getaway. My shoes and helmets have a spot, too, with the Kit Keeper, and since I don’t race very much anymore, I’ve streamlined down to one pair of shoes, with one type of pedals for all my bikes. Less looking, less thinking, and more time actually pedaling.

But over the past year or so, I’ve taken about three extra minutes in garage that have really helped to sort of wrap up the ride, as well as put me in a better position to be a contributing member of the household once I open the door to the house and, as I see it, step back into reality.

The Wipe Down. I’m notoriously hard on my bikes, a notoriety equalled only by my lack of mechanic skills. In just a minute or so, however, I can take stock of any bike issues and keep an eye on wear. After every ride, I use a bike wash to spray and wipe down my bike. With the rag and the spray right on the bench, it takes about sixty seconds to do the frame, rims, and touch-up the handle bars, too. Every weekend ride, usually on Saturday, I toss the chain gauge on to see how close I am to needing a replacement; this, combined with a strict regimen of wiping and lubing, has helped to get two to three chains per cassette, often as much as 3,000 miles or more.

The Recharge. A lot of things charge these days, don’t they? I’ve made a renewed effort to use daytime lights both front and rear, and to avoid trouble or forgetting, I charge each on a rotating basis, with the blinker and headlight getting charged every other day. That leaves an outlet open to charge my GPS when it needs it, too. I used to rush out of the garage and plan on plugging lights in “when I get a second”. As we’ve said here before, you’re never going to find time, so make time to take care of the little things.

The Deep Breath. That last minute or two? I don’t do anything. I’ve made time to sit down, take off my shoes and helmet, and upload my Strava. Since I got married, I’ve noticed approval of my going for a longer rider, only to come back inside with my face in my phone to think of a clever ride title and look at segments isn’t always well received. Instead, that all gets done outside, so that when I step back in the house, I’m ready for whatever life throws at me.

Riding means something different for everyone, and it can be different things over time. How has your relationship with cycling changed, and what have you learned to do to make the most of it?