I know, it’s not the most exciting part of a ride, bike maintenance is probably just as fun as cleaning your bike after the wettest day of the year. But these pre-ride and post-ride checks will not only ensure you are safe during your ride, but will also give you more confidence to go that little bit further, knowing your trusty steed is prepped and ready to go, just as much as you are!
- Brakes. Especially during the wetter months, these little guys become ever more important, so checking them regularly is a must. Start by checking the brake pads as these can become worn over time and lose their function. You should also make sure that the pads only hit the rims of your wheel and not the tire – rubber loves more rubber, so it’ll grip straight onto the tire and will most likely result in you being kicked off the front! Give your brake levers a quick squeeze to see whether they are applying enough pressure to stop your bike. Lastly, check your cables, ensuring none are fraying or stretched.
- Tires and wheels. All tires release air over time, so it’s essential to check your tire pressure before every ride. To ensure they are inflated to their required pressure, it’s worth investing in a good pressure gauge, such as the Airsmith LCD Bike Pressure Gauge. You should also check the nuts and quick release mechanisms that hold your wheels in place, it’s easy to forget these are released until it’s too late and your front wheel is dropping you on the downhill… (Sounds cool, but it’s definitely not!)
- Shifters. Do a quick run through of the gears to check for any skipping, chain slippage or rough shifting, and look for any signs of derailleur alignment issues!
-Lights. With the nights drawing in, it is important to check your lights have a sufficient amount of battery to get you through your ride. Its also worthwhile taking a back up light. A light that is small enough to fit in your jersey pocket without taking up too much space. Such as the UGOE 200LM Front USB light, which can be purchased as a bundle with the UGOE 7LM rear light.
- Chain. Make sure to clean and lube the chain when returning for a ride, especially in wet conditions. This will remove any of the mud and grime from your bike and will ensure it’s prepped for your next ride. Grime can seriously damage your chain if left over a long period of time, so don’t allow it to build up!
- Tires. Have a quick look at both tires to ensure that they are completely free from any little objects, which may eventually cause a flat tire, or damage the tire completely.
- Strava. This is, of course, recommended but not essential. Keeping a diary log of your training can be a great motivation, not only can you show off to your friends and club, but you can watch your hard work pay off! Not to mention the fact you can join various challenges throughout each month to really keep you pushing yourself!
Title image courtesy of NEOS partner, Dropouts.cc