“The 30 seconds bike safety check”
The usual temptation is to grab your bike and start riding without giving your cycle a once over first. Bike safety, well a more accurate description – is your bike safe to ride on the road – should be a priority.
A good pilot makes sure his plane is checked before he flies, pretty important if it fails the consequences will be catastrophic. Legally, vehicles must be roadworthy otherwise they aren’t allowed on the road.
A cyclist is vulnerable on the roads if they don’t adhere to good cycling practice and also very vulnerable if their bike isn’t safe.
6 quick and easy checks to your bike before you start riding that take just 30 seconds will dramatically increase your bike safety. Now that has to be a good thing!
Get into the habit every time before you ride, because what you are checking for are the 6 most common mechanical reasons that lead to a crash when they fail.
- Squeeze the brake levers, do they fully stop the wheels?
- Are the brake pads squeezing the wheel rim and not the tires? (rubber brakes on tires will wear the sidewalls and also rubber on rubber will grip too fast and throw you over the handlebars if you have to anchor on!)
- Are the brake cables in good condition, not stretched or frayed?
- Are the wheels true, no buckles?
- Are the nuts tightened fully, the wheels don’t have any loose play?
- Do the wheels free wheel through the brake pads without touching when the brakes are off?
- Are the tires properly inflated when you sit on the bike?
- Are the tire walls in good condition, no bubbles where the rubber has weakened, no cracks or tears?
4) Chain, Gears
- Is the chain running smoothly through the sprockets without catching and does the chain change up and down the rear sprockets without slipping and catching?
- Is the chain cleanly greased, lumps of dirty grime will cause problems?
Chain slippage when gear changing and a loose chain that keeps coming off is a hassle and hazardous.
5) Handle Bar Stem, Seat Post
- Are they both at the correct height?
- Are they both tightened properly, no twisting at all, that’s a recipe for disaster?
You’re now ready to ride your bike, almost, the last check your helmet.
- No damage to the outer or inner surfaces?
- Are the straps set properly so it fits snugly and squarely on your head not tilted back, otherwise your forehead isn’t protected?
And that’s it, the 30 second quick and easy bike check before you ride is complete and now you’re ready to ride.
Get the 6 quick and easy checks to your bike 30 second habit imprinted into your routine to keep as yourself as safe as possible when you are out riding your bike.
If you want to carry your bike to the trail or with you on vacation, you’ll need to get a handle on what makes a good bike rack, read our article Bike Racks for Cars: Tips On Choosing The Best One For The Job.
And check out the detailed bike rack reviews section for some solid advice.