How to Check a Bike before Riding? The Best Pre-Ride Checklist

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Planning to enjoy the weekend and have a wonderful ride without interrupt? This pre-ride checklist will be your great guide on how to check a bike before riding to ensure your bike always works well. Continue reading to know!

Most of us think that we are always ready to ride and eventually we just jump on our bike and start pedaling. However, how sure are we about our safety and the bike’s condition too? Well, if in doubt about that matter, it is best to consider checking the bike before you go. So, how to check a bike before riding?

Good news! I’ve got some helpful tips and checklists on what to do before cycling. Read throughout this post and you’ll learn more!

Why do you need to check your bike before riding?

Of course, you must check the bike first before you get going. Why? The main reason why it is a necessity is your SAFETY. Apart from the benefits of cycling, you also want to be safe all the time as you go biking out there.

It is crucial to check your bike, especially its parts, before you jump on and start biking. You don’t want to be interrupted due to damaged parts or flat tires, right? You also don’t want to hit any accident due to not checking your entire bike.

Indeed, there are many reasons why checking your bike prior to riding on it. However, always bear in mind that safety is a lot more important than anything else.

How to Check a Bike before Riding? Here’s a Checklist to Consider

The same with any other machine, a bike could work a lot better and could also last a longer once you maintain it appropriately. So, make it a habit to check the bike regularly. For you to enjoy a comfortable riding and for you to avoid repairs, then small checks and maintenance can definitely help a lot!

For this process, you will need the following:

  • Allen keys
  • Bike pump
  • Chain oil

And follow these steps:

1. Check the rear wheel.

The rear wheel should be fitted tightly as well as a quick release lever must also be secured in a closed position. And bear in mind that not all bike wheels would offer quick release levers. Once the wheel isn’t quick release, you have to examine that the nuts on every side of the wheels are secured.

2. Check the spokes.

The spokes should be into identical tension and must not be loose. You have to pluck spoke respectively using your finger and the sound should be the same from each of them.

adjusts bike spokes

Check the spokes

3. Inspect the air in tires.

Once the tire is soft, attach the pump into the valve and then pump up. However, there are certain kinds of valve fitting and these are the Presta or the thin and long one and the Schrader which is the slightly shorter and thicker one. The recommended tire pressure is most of the time written anywhere on the tire.

4. The saddle is important too.

Check the seat post and it shouldn’t be loose and you haven’t surpassed the limit that is being marked onto the seat post. If you already checked these, you can utilize an Allen key in order to stiffen a seat post clamp. To check whether the seat is already secured, give it another glance if you’re done.

Adjust bike seat

Adjust bike seat.

5. Clean the chain.

There is a need for the chain to be cleaned and oiled as well. Keeping the chain oiled and cleaned is essential in order for the bike to run smoothly. Nevertheless, don’t utilize too much of the oil as it might lead to picking up a lot more dirt at the same time making the chain a lot tougher to clean as well.

6. The pedals should be checked as well.

You have to make sure that the pedals smoothly spin, and the cranks are tight, spinning effortlessly and don’t scrape too.

Check the pedals

Check the pedals

7. Now, check the stem.

You have to check that the front wheel as well as the stem doesn’t move autonomously and that the handlebar clamp bolts are indeed tight. You can do this through standing right in front of your bike then holding its front wheel in between the knees and twist the handlebars.

Any movement could be prevented through tightening the handlebar clamp and the stem bolts with the use of Allen key.

8. Headset is crucial as well. 

Be wary whether there is anything clicks or rocks in its headset. You can perform this examination thru grasping its head tube firmly with only a hand then applying the front brake with the other one. And this will make the front of your bike stable for you to shake the headset to create any clicking or rocking in the bearings.

9. Of course, check your brakes.

Make sure that the front and the rear brakes are properly working. Once the brake lever pulls in contradiction of the handlebar grip, there is a need for adjusting the brake cable. And this is completed by releasing the bike’s brake cable anchor bolt, then pulling the cable a lot tighter and also tightening its anchor bolt over.

Front disc brake for mountain bike

Check the bike brake.

There is a need for the both sides of a brake mechanism to move once its brake is applied. Once this doesn’t happen, you have to turn a small adjustor screw onto the stationery side up until the both of the sides are moving again.

Most of the brakes do have the said adjuster screws. And the brake block should pull flat into the wheel rim. Once this isn’t the case, you can use an Allen key in tightening the block in a precise position. This is done as you apply the brake and finally, inspect the front brake via applying the brake then pushing your bike forwards, and also check the back brake via applying its brake then pulling your bike backwards.

10. Consider the frame too.

Look for somewhat damages or cracks. This step requires a certain focus on an area wherein the frame links the head tube.

12. And finally, the front wheel.

It is important that the front wheel is tightly fitted, and a quick release lever must also be secured in a closed position. And not all the wheels would render quick release levers. Once the wheel isn’t quick release, you have to check that the nuts are secured on both sides of the wheel.

There you have it! Try checking your bike first before you enjoy a great ride! Doing some stretches might help too!

Post-Ride Checklist

I think it would be better if I would add additional tips after your ride. Here are some others that you should consider to check:

  • Have another look over your bike with your hands and eyes like you did before you ride. Check for whatever that has come broken or loosen. And since you’ve just been into riding, you must have noticed once the levers or the throttle feel sticky or loose.
  • Since your bicycle is still warm from your ride, it is a great time to lubricate its chain. Why? Well, this will let the oil to stay sticky and soak it into the chain instead of thickening in globs only to fling off during your next ride.
  • Give the bike a refreshing wash as well. The bike will be clean for your next ride and it will also prevent the bike from built-on grease or grime.

To ensure your safety, take a few minutes to check your bike after the ride is also a valuable advice.

Conclusion

Again, the steps above are of significant help on how to check a bike before riding. I hope you’ve learned a lot! For additional help, you can watch the video on YouTube below (from GCN):

If you think I missed to include anything, feel free to leave your comments below!

Lauren Anderson
 

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