Things to Check Before You Ride
Before each ride it is important to take time to perform a safety check of your bicycle. This can help prevent avoidable accidents and injuries and will only take couple minutes to do.
- Check Tire Pressure – Check both tires for proper inflation. This information can be found on the side of the tire. You’ll be surprised how quickly pressure will drop on your bike. Road bikes can lose up to 20-30 psi in just a few days. Check the tire treads for excessive wear or other damage.
- Check Brakes – Spin the wheels to check for rubbing and then apply the brakes to ensure they stop the bike smoothly and evenly. Check the brake pads for excessive wear.
- Check Cables and Housing – Check all cables and housing to make sure there is no fraying or splitting (leaking for hydraulic brakes.) Usually you can do a visual check on mechanical cables. Also, if the lever doesn’t pull smoothly and return to the original position smoothly, you may want to investigate further. For hydraulic brakes, test pressure when compressing to make sure it doesn’t compress into the grip. Also, make sure there is no leaking where the cables attach to the brake and the levers at both ends.
- Check Quick Release Levers on Wheels – Check the wheel quick release levers to ensure they are tight and secure. A good rule of thumb is when you close the quick release lever it should leaves an impression in the palm of your hand.
- Check the tightness of cranks and all other nuts and bolts. (If you own a full-suspension bike ensure bolts are tight on all rear suspension linkage parts.) If you have a torque wrench, usually the setting is 120 IN-LB /15 N-M. If you don’t have a torque wrench, do your best to make sure the bolts are snug. We strongly recommend using a torque wrench to prevent over tightening that may result in damaged bolts or other components. It’s also good to check each bolt on the frame and components (when possible) to make sure that they are tight.
- Check Shifting – Check that your bicycle is properly shifting through all the gears. If you need assistance with adjusting your derailleur we recommend the following instructional video. Adjust Rear Derailleur, Adjust Front Derailleur
- Check Chain Wear and Lubrication – Check for dirt and proper lubrication. A good rule of thumb on lubricating is if you touch the chain and dirt or grime comes off on your hand, you should clean it. For lubrication, if the chain is dry to the touch, it needs to be lubricated. Don’t over lubricate your chain, either. Here are a couple different kits to help you keep your drive train clean. Check the chain for over stretching. Put a ruler on the chain and measure 6 inches. The links should line up at the 0 and 6 inch mark on your tape measure. If the links do not line up on the 0 and 6 inch mark it may be time to replace your chain.
Perform a low-speed ride to ensure that your bicycle is functioning properly. If everything seems to be in order get out and enjoy your ride!
Safety and Emergency Repair Checklist
These are some items that we recommend having with you when you go out on a bicycle ride.
- Have a helmet that fits properly
- Carry a toolkit for basic repairs, including a pump, wrenches, patch kit, or spare tube, etc. Many companies sell accessory kits that include these tools.
- Carry your driver’s license or some other form of ID.
- Carry emergency contact information as well as any medical information that may be needed in-case of an accident
- First aid kit
- Reflectors and flashing rear safety light
- Wear brightly-colored clothing to improve visibility
- Carry a map or cue sheet to ensure you don’t get lost
- Energy foods, snacks or extra cash
- Bring adequate water in a bottle or hydration pack
- Carry a few dollars for emergencies
*We recommend becoming familiar with how to repair a flat tire before you hit the road/trail. It is always a good idea to practice changing or patching a tube at home before you need to do it on the road/trail. If you are unsure how to change a tube please feel free to watch our instructional videos. Mountain Bike Tube, Road Bike Tube