Your bicycle may be one of the least complicated vehicles sharing the road, but it has the potential of causing you serious injury should a component fail during a ride. A thorough inspection of your bike before every ride takes just a few minutes, but ensures that you are riding with safe equipment. Here is a checklist of components to inspect before you put on your helmet and pedal out to the street.
- Check that the quick release levers on both wheels are tight.
- Spin each tire and look for any wobbling, loose or missing spokes. This can mean a bent rim and that your next trip should be to a bike repair shop before your next ride.
- Check the air pressure in each tire against the recommended pressure listed on the tire. An under-inflated tire puts more rubber in contact with the road, increasing resistance and the risk of damage to the sidewalls. An over-inflated tire becomes more sensitive to bumps in the road and increases your risk of a blowout.
- Inspect the brake pads. Uneven wearing means the pads aren't contacting the rim fully so you are not getting the most stopping potential from your brakes.
- Squeeze both brake levers and watch that the pads come into contact with the rims. You should only need to pull the levers halfway to get good braking from them. Look for a loose or stretched brake cable if you need to pull on the brake levers further to stop the bike. Have a bike repair shop, like Kore Bikes, replace any cables that show signs of kinks, bends or worn protective coating.
- Try to turn the wheels while squeezing on the brake levers. The wheels shouldn't move. If they do, look for something on the pad or rims that is causing the brake to slip.
- Straddle the front wheel between your legs and try to rotate the handlebar stem. A loose stem can mean grease or oil is preventing the stem from making a secure connection or the bolt that connects the stem has stripped threads.
- Check that the pedals move freely on the crankshaft. Look for signs of bent pedal bolts going into the crank and replace them so your feet won't slip off as you push down on the pedal with your foot.
- Check that the seat stem is secure and doesn't allow the seat to rotate. The recommended seat height has your knee bent slightly when your foot is on the pedal at its lowest position. If you must extend your leg so your knee is straight in this position, you lose power when pedaling and can injure your knee and lower back.
- Check all lights and reflectors on your bike to make sure that you are the most visible on the road. Regardless of how well prepared your bike is for a ride, if other people on the road don't see you, a serious injury can happen.