By Laurel-Lea Shannon
Routine Safety Checks For Your Bicycle
When you’re out riding your bicycle you want to minimize the chances of an accident due to mechanical failure. Get in the habit of doing a safety check before each ride to ensure nothing falls off or goes flat on your bike while you’re on it. Here’s a good rule of thumb: Look, listen and feel. If something doesn’t look right, feel right or sound right, take your bike to the shop and have it checked by a pro.
1) Pump Up: Low tire pressure can lead to flats. Keep tires topped up with air. You can find the correct air pressure range on the side of your tire. While you’re down there, check the quick release levers. They should be locked and the wheel nuts snug.
Next, lift the bike off the ground and slowly spin the tires, checking for splits, cracks or bulges. When tires look worn, replace them.
2) Handle Bars and Bells: Stand in front of the your bike, holding the front wheel firmly between your legs. Try turning the handlebar from side to side. If there is any movement check the stem and bolts. Tighten if necessary. Does your bell ding? If not, buy a new one.
3) Brakes: To test the brakes apply both brakes and push the bike forward. If you can pull the brake lever to the handle bar before the brake stops the wheel, have your brakes checked.
4) Drop the Bike: Lift the bike a few inches off the ground and drop it. Did you hear anything? If you heard clanking, or worse, if something falls off, take your bike to your cycling store for maintenance before you ride it.
5) Gears and Chain: Make sure the bike chain is adequately oiled and the gears are properly adjusted. If the chain jumps while you’re on the road, looking down to fiddle with it is distracting and can lead to an accident.
6) Inspect the Bike Frame: Metal can become fatigued and crack. Do a visual check of the frame and run your fingers on the underside of the tubes. Check for cracks or bulges which could lead to a break. You’re in for a nasty spill if the frame snaps.