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The ABC's of Pre-Ride Check
Biking is a great way to get around: it is affordable and sustainable, it extends how far we can travel, it keeps us healthy, it gives us an activity to do with the kids, and IT IS FUN!
But it has probably been a while since you took that bike for a ride, so before you decide to venture down the street, let's give it a quick pre-ride check.
Let's start with tire pressure. Your tires should be pretty hard to squeeze. If they are squichy, they're going to need more air. Grab a pump, hook it onto the tire valve and add air until the tires feel firm.
- If the tire isn't holding air, check for punctures, tears and cracks. During long storing time period, the rubber might have become brittle and have cracks. If this is the case, you should get it replaced.
Now inspect the whole wheel: Everything should feel and sound smooth. If you hear crunching or grinding noises or any kind of side-to-side wobble, you need to investigate.
- Try to rock the wheel side-to-side: if it wobbles, check the quick release skewers that hold the wheel to the bike. They might be loose. Tighten them.
- If you hear any kind of rubbing, check if the tire is touching the frame. If this is the case, it might be 'out of true'.
- The rubbing might also be coming from your brakes. You'll need to get them adjusted.
If your wheel isn't spinning straight and freely, get it checked out by our mechanics before you take it for a ride.
Squeeze both brake levers firmly and rock the bike forward and backward. The brakes should hold the wheels firmly without slipping or squealing.
- If it slips or squeals, check your brakes pads. You should replace them if they are contaminated or worn out.
- If the brakes seem to not be working at all, check the lines and cables. They may be damaged or rusted, or they might need a bleed. Take it to the shop and let our mechanics deal with this.
Grab the pedals and spin them backwards. You should hear a continuous clicking coming from the hub and the chain should spin freely and smoothly. If you hear loud clunking and the chain seems to be skipping, inspect the chain closely.
- A little dust, mud, grass and rust can easily be cleaned up. Pick any debris off, dust off the chain and apply a drop of chain lubricant to each link. Spin those pedals backwards to allow the oil to sip into each link. Make sure to wipe off the excess lubricant with an old rag, having too much excess oil will only attract more dirt to the chain, wear your drivetrain faster and leave greasy marks on your legs or pants.
- If the chain has a lot of rust, you should replace it.
- If you hear clunking noises and/or the chain is skipping, lift your rear wheel off the ground and give the pedals a couple spins forward. This should shift the chain back into the right gear.
Now hop on your bike, pedal around while slowly shifting one gear at a time, through its entire range. The chain should move to one gear at every click.
- If the chain is jumping gears, your gears might need to be adjusted by a mechanic.
And while you're at it, check these too
Bicycles are held together by dozens of nuts and bolts. Loose (or improperly tightened) bike parts can lead to serious wear and tear, cause poor performance and create a safety hazard.
- Grab yourself a multi-tool, and go over each bolts on the bike. Tighten them firmly, but not too tight as you might damage parts.
- Check your saddle height. Having the saddle at the right height for pedaling is important for your knees: When your leg is extended in the 6 o’clock position, your knee should be slightly bent.
- Make sure your bell is on correctly.
- Check that the lights are working.
- And don't forget your lock!
Now go outside and enjoy this beautiful warm spring weather, but make sure to keep proper distancing!
- 6ft (or 2m) is about the length of a bicycle.
Working on your own bike might be a little daunting at first. But don't worry, our highly qualified and friendly mechanics are here to help. We have a full service bike shop and a simple BASIC TUNE-UP should be enough to get your bike ride-ready.