A Pre-Ride Checklist
Yesterday I posted about performing a tune up to ensure you have a fully functional bicycle. But you should also inspect your bike before every ride to avoid potential problems on the road. Use the following quick checklist before each ride to improve biking efficiency while maximizing safety.
1. Let your bike fall. Pick your bike up 4-5 inches off the ground and let it drop. Investigate any rattling or odd noises when it hits the ground. There could be signs of loose parts.
2. Test the brakes. Engage the brake levers to make sure they are functioning properly. They should snap back after you let go.
3. Tires OK? Make sure the tires are inflated according to the specifications on the side wall of each tire. Check for cuts, tears, and rips and replace if necessary. This step only takes a minute, but it is one of the most important steps you should take to ensure safety and efficiency before every ride.
4. Spin the wheel. It should spin freely without wobbling and there should be no contact between it and the brake pads.
5. Secure the wheel. Most bikes contain quick release levers, which are levers located at the hub (center of the wheel) that allow for easy removal or adjustment of the wheel without using a tool. These should be securely tightened.
6. Secure the headset. The headset is the short tube located at the front of the bike connecting the forks and the bike frame. Your handlebars slip into this tube, which pivots to allow steering. To test if the headset is secure, apply the front brakes while gently tilting the bike forward and back (your rear tire should raise up and down). Listen for clicking, which is a sign of a loose headset. Tighten if necessary.
All this maintenance means one thing: You have earned the right to mount your bicycle for the spring and summer season! For bike rides of any distance, make sure you wear a helmet. For longer rides, bring along something to drink and eat. Regardless of distance, always remember to follow the rules of the road. Most importantly, enjoy the exercise and fun with friend at May Street Bicycles.
Yours in Cycling and Fitness,
President of Fun
May Street Bicycles is not your typical bike shop. Sure we sell awesome bicycles, provide bicycle repairs, and rental bikes all at great prices. But we do a great deal more such as dynamic bike fitting, metabolic testing, altitude training, and personal training.