It’s easy to get in the habit of just hopping on your bicycle and riding off, without stopping to perform a few rudimentary checks that could prevent a serious wipe-out. Don’t worry, these bicycle checks will take you less than a minute!
1. Check your tires and wheels. Make sure the wheels are inflated properly. It’s easy to puncture a wheel and not notice until most of the air has seeped out. Also make sure all the nuts and bolts holding your wheels in place are tightly secured.
2. Test your brakes. Look at the brake pads to ensure they’re hitting the rim of the tire, not the rubber. The cables shouldn’t be frayed or stretched, and it shouldn’t be too difficult to apply the right amount of pressure to the levers to stop smoothly.
3. Check your handle bars. If your handlebars become loose, you won’t be able to steer your bicycle. It doesn’t take much time to make sure they’re secure.
4. Inspect your helmet. Are there any cracks in it? Are the straps comfortable, while keeping the helmet from moving around on your head? It should sit over your eyebrows to ensure your forehead’s protected.
5. Look at your chains. As you make your first few pedals, make sure the chains aren’t slipping. They should pass smoothly through the front and rear sprockets without catching on anything.
A bicycle is a machine, and all machines require regular maintenance if they’re to keep working. If you notice anything amiss, visit your bicycle maintenance shop before your next ride. If you’d like to learn a little more, consider volunteering or getting a green job with them. As living green becomes more popular, more bicycle shops are popping up all over the country.