We understand that there are times when nothing can stand in the way of gratifying a demand for speed or a nice afternoon trip. Taking only a few minutes before you hit the road, on the other hand, may assist to guarantee that your experience is safe and encourages many more rides to come.
When you get into the habit of riding most days of the week for commuting or training, it's easy to overlook a few details. Common examples are kit inspections and ensuring that your electric bike is still in good condition. A short check of these items before every ride will keep you safe and ensure you get the most out of your ride, whether you're beginning on a new bike challenge, competing in a sportive, or facing one of cycling's most difficult mountains.
We've outlined several fast and easy pre-ride tests in this post. They may appear to be a lot, but they are rather straightforward and, if you get into a rhythm, they can be completed fairly fast. A slew of modest changes can help to avoid a huge and costly problem later on.
Pre-ride kit inspection
This should go without saying, but make sure you've dressed appropriately. A T-shirt, trousers, and a pair of slides aren't enough gear for a six-hour adventure (at least, not in our opinion). Having said that, you probably don't need to wear your skinsuit for a 20-minute journey. Dress for the weather and for the ride. No matter what you're wearing, always remember to wear a helmet and make sure you're wearing it correctly! A bicycle helmet has been shown to minimize traumatic brain damage by 53% and severe head injury by 60%. Even if you are confident in your riding skills and on the road, keep in mind that you share the road with other cars and pedestrians, and accidents can occur.
Pre-ride accessory inspection
For commuters, the pre-ride accessory check is extremely vital. It's easy to forget your lights and lock in the early bustle of sorting through work clothing, bags, and train tickets. That's why it's critical to develop the practice of packing your work bag, including your lock, the night before and always ensuring your lights are charged before and during your workday.
Checking the tires is a simple habit to develop. Giving them a brief squeeze to make sure they're not too soft is a simple and easy thing to perform daily. Use a track pump to fill the tires to the proper pressure before a long ride. This is located on the tire's sidewall. You run the danger of getting a pinch puncture if your tires aren't adequately filled. Examine the tread for wear and cuts as well. Check that the tires are filled to the PSI (pounds per square inch) specified on the tire. This is located on the side of the tire closest to the rim and recommends a range.
The recommended tire pressure is generally marked on the side of the tire. It is generally measured in PSI (pounds per square inch) and provided as a range (e.g. 40 - 65psi). In most situations, like riding on streets, paved trails, or smooth dirt trails, you should utilize the highest pressure in the range. If you're riding on rugged off-road terrain (mountain biking), apply pressure at the bottom of the range.
Use an air gauge or the gauge integrated into your bicycle tire pump. If the present pressure is lower than the target pressure, run the pump until the pressure is reached.
Again, press down on the wheel to get a basic sense of how your tire would feel when fully inflated.
Repeat the preceding steps for the opposite wheel.
Examine the tire's outside surface. Examine the tread for excessive wear, rips or cracks in the tread or sidewall, exposed threads or wires, and bulges. Replace the tire if you notice any of these.
Having a set of loose wheels is a potentially dangerous situation. If your wheels are kept in place by quick-release levers, ensure the levers are closed tightly enough. If you're not sure how to utilize wheel quick-release levers, get assistance from a competent bicycle technician. Check that your quick-release skewers/thru axels are correctly fastened and that the wheel spins freely to avoid tragedy. If there is any brake rub or wobbling in the wheel, it is most likely because of a buckling rim that needs to be repaired. This is a simple fix that will be no trouble for your local bike shop. You should also ensure that the quick release on your front wheel is snug and that the wheels themselves are secure. There should be no movement in either direction if you jiggle the wheel from side to side. You should also notice a nice spin.
Bolt tension, like wheels and brakes, is an important check that will protect your commuter bike from becoming possibly unsafe. Make sure that none of the bolts on your headset, handlebars, or stem are loose. Use a torque wrench for this; the torque level to which each bolt must be adjusted is printed on each component. Squeeze both brakes to confirm they are in working order. If they feel loose or you notice lower braking power while riding, it's time for an adjustment, which you can do yourself or at a bike shop.
you may need to make simple changes with the barrel adjusters or at the derailleur for more substantial modifications.
Examine the chain carefully. You can probably get away with cleaning and re-lubricating it if there's only a little surface rust. If it's entirely covered with rust, it's time to replace it.
Backwards-spin the cranks to see if the chain runs easily over the gears without kinking, skipping, or binding. It should spin quite softly, with no screeching or grinding. If it does any of these things, it should be cleaned and oiled.
If the chain is partially or entirely coated in hunks of grease or filth, clean and lube it.
Check the chain's condition with a chain wear indicator instrument. If the tool indicates that the chain is worn, it is time to replace it.
Keeping your bike clean is a good rule to follow in general, but we're going to concentrate on the chain particularly. Lubricating it before each ride will maintain it in good shape and ensure that everything operates properly. If it's filthy, using a degreaser and cleaning it with a brush daily should keep it running well for the rest of the week. Then, inspect your chain for squeaks and apply lubrication as needed. A properly greased chain will move more smoothly, endure longer, and improve the ride.
The pedals should be tightly linked to the crank arm as well. They may be tightened by turning the wrench towards the front of the bike, but be cautious not to break the thread in the process.
Stand on the right side of the bike when it is on the ground. The crank is the arm to which the pedal is attached; turn the cranks so that the arm is pointing up. Grasp the crank arm with one hand and pull it firmly towards you, then towards the bike. There should be no movement or play.
Repeat on the other side of the bike.
If you feel play in the crank arms on both sides, the bottom bracket (the set of ball bearings that allow the crank arms to revolve) will most likely need to be repaired or replaced. If you only feel play on one side, the crank arm is definitely loose. You may be able to tighten it back down using the middle bolt, but if it has pulled itself loose, it will most likely need to be replaced.
Stem and Headset.
The stem is the part of the handlebar that holds it in position. Place the front wheel of the bike between your legs and lean over it. Grasp the handlebar firmly and attempt to turn it without twisting the wheel. Do not ride the bike if the handlebar turns and have it checked by a qualified bike mechanic.
The headset is a series of ball bearings located inside the front portion of the bike (the head tube) that allow the steering to function. Grab the left-hand (front) brake lever and rock the bike forward and backward while holding onto the outside of the bearing regions (at the top and bottom of the frame's head tube). If you notice any play in the bearings, you should get them adjusted by a certified bicycle technician.
That's all! Isn't it pretty straightforward? Regular maintenance at your local retailer, in addition to conducting your pre-ride check and simple maintenance at home, such as tire inflation and chain lubrication, can keep components functioning smoothly and can spot faults before they become problems.