It’s the season during which the trails of the Bitterroot Valley are drying out and getting ready to accommodate both the tread of hiking boots and the knobby tires of mountain bikes. And for those of you who plan to experience, on a mountain bike, one or many of the Bitterroot Valley’s endless combination of mountain trails, then it’s time to get that bike in tip-top shape; a worn-out bike, or one that isn’t ready for the arduous task of carrying you over rugged single track, could leave you unhappily stranded.

Bikes left in the garage for the winter are in need of a tune-up. Yes, the garage has protected the bike from the elements, but the bike will still need a little preseason maintenance. First, remember to check the tires. If a mountain bike has tubeless tires, then remember that the sealant within the tire may—or, more likely, did—dry out. Top off the sealant within the tire before you take the bike from the garage. You may find that a regardless of the amount of sealant a tire will hold air, the smallest puncture could instantly cause a flat.

The chain is the most important component of the drivetrain to keep maintained. A bike’s chain should be lubed before every ride, and this is especially important if the bike has been stored for a long period. A properly maintained chain will absolutely increase the longevity of your drivetrain, and hopefully ensure that the drivetrain won’t break down on the trail.

Also, one of the most important aspects to bicycling the singletrack trails of the Bitterroot Valley is to remember to take care of those trails. If your tire is creating ruts within the trail, then the trail is not yet ready to handle a bike. Don’t litter, and pack out everything you take in.

Enjoy the numerous trails of the Bitterroot Valley this spring/summer season, and stay safe.