Tools/Pre-Ride Safety Check
It is important to check your bike over before your next ride. You can prevent an accident or a long walk home if you just take a few minutes and follow these items.
MANDATORY TOOLS TO CARRY WHILE RIDING:
- Tire pump (make sure it fits your valve Presta or Schrader )
- Spare tube ( Presta or Schrader , what size tube?)
- Patch kit (for your tubes)
- Tire lever
- Allen wrenches (2, 4, 5, 6mm)
- Chain tool (spare Shimano chain pins)
- Small crescent wrench
- Small first aid kit
Before every ride every bicycle rider should do a pre-ride safety check on their bike. This is very important to do before every ride because it can turn a good ride into a nightmare on the trail if everything on your bike is not adjusted correctly:
- Checking the braking system: Spin the wheels to make sure the brake pads are not rubbing on the rim or tire. Check the centering of the brakes making sure it has an even pull on both sides of the cantilevers. Make sure brake pads are tight by grabbing the brake pad and try to pivot it on the cantilever, also check brake post bolts making sure they are secured (5mm Allen wrench). Last take a look at the brake cables and housing to make sure there is no fraying or splits.
- Checking the headset: The best way to check your headset is by grabbing a handful of your front brake and rocking your bike back and forth. If there is any play or movement coming from around the headset area this will require an adjustment and tightening to the headset. Try not to ride on a loose headset because it can cause more damage to the bearings and bearing surfaces down the road.
- Checking the bottom bracket: When checking your bottom bracket grab a hold of your crank arms down by were the pedals are attached and pull the crank arms side to side, if there is any play around the bottom bracket it should be adjusted immediately, if not this again can do damage to the bottom bracket cups, spindle or bearings. Also you should check your crank arm bolts to make sure they are secure, you will need either a 14 or 15mm crank arm wrench which usually cost around five to seven dollars.
- Checking The Hubs and Wheels: To check and see if your hubs are loose with the wheels on the bike, grab the tire and move it side to side, it should have a solid feel, if it has any play it should be adjusted as soon as possible as again this can cause damage to the bearings and bearing surfaces down the road. For the actual wheel to be rideable the spokes should have an even tension throughout. To check the tension on the spokes grab two spokes on the same side of the wheel and pull them towards each other, they should have an even tension. Go through all the spokes in that process, if there are any loose spokes the wheel should be looked over by a mechanic to see what is wrong. If there is more than three loose spokes on the wheel I would recommend not riding it.
- Checking Allen Bolts: This will require you to have available 4, 5, and 6mm allen wrenches. Go around to all bolts that have hex inserts in them (ie., handlebar stem bolt, stem binder bolt, derailleurs, brake levers, shift levers, cantilevers water bottle cages, and seat binder bolt) and use your allen wrenches to tighten them. Do not over tighten , this can sometimes cause stripping of the threads.
- Frame Inspection: This is very important to do because a broken frame is a dangerous frame for riding on. Look for any type of cracking in the paint were the tubes join together. This is not a usual occurrence but is something you should keep an eye on.