You may not be a pro, but you can give your bicycle a professional check before every ride and can prevent significant damages and accidents from happening.
We usually take out our MTB or electric bike for a ride and realize something fishy in the middle of the journey. So, taking up a pre-ride inspection of your bike is inevitable to ensure a safe ride and avoid a roadside malfunction. Here are a few steps. Steps 1-4 should be followed before every ride, while the following steps are recommended if you have time. However, they should be performed periodically to ensure safety, maintenance and prevention.
Each tyre has a recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) pressure written on the side walls. Make sure that your tyre pressure falls within that range. The pressure should be optimum to avoid getting a pinch flat or puncture in the middle of the journey. Also, inspect the tyre for any wear or tear or worn patches.
Why is it important to care about tyre pressure?
Elevate the front wheel of your bicycle and start spinning it. Now, apply the front brake. Ensure that the brake pad and the callipers squeeze the side of the front wheel evenly. Repeat the same process for the rear wheel. If one side of the calliper touches the wheel and the other does not, re-centre them by shifting them with your hands.
If the brake lever comes close to the handlebar before the wheel stops, it's time to check your brake cables and pads.
Please read our blog on improving cycling skills.
Quick Release Levers
These levers are usually found in imported bikes. It would be best to close these levers properly with adept tension. If you cannot understand the mechanics, you prefer to visit a nearby cycle repair shop or a bicycle mechanic.
There are two ways to check them.
First, place your bike in a resting position on the ground. Hold the handlebar tight and grab the front wheel with the other hand. Now try rocking the wheel sideways. There should be no movement in any direction.
Secondly, lift the front tyre and give it a free spin. If the wheel wobbles or makes a crunching/grinding sound, take your bike to a cycle shop near you or visit a mechanic immediately. Perform the same activity with the other tyre.
The stem of a cycle is a component that holds the handlebar in place. Stand over the bike while keeping the front wheel between your legs. Hold the handlebar tightly and firmly. Now try to move the handlebar without moving the wheel. If the stem shows any turning movement, don't ride the bike. Get it repaired by a qualified mechanic.
If you see any rusted, greasy surface or grime while inspecting the chain, clean it and lubricate the chain properly. In case the chain is completely rusted, you must not take a chance and get it replaced immediately.
Put your cycle on the stand and spin the pedals backwards. Now, closely inspect if the chain is moving freely over the cogs. If the chain is making any sound or skipping the cogs, clean it properly and re-lubricate it. The life of a chain usually depends on factors such as riding style, weather, gear choice and how often the chain is lubricated.
The helmet is the main protective gear which is a must for every rider. Inspect your helmet for any cracks, and make sure that your helmet offers you a snug fit on the forehead. Cross-check the strap buckle and get it replaced if it is broken. There is no point in wearing a helmet if it does not stay in place and cannot protect you in case of an accident.
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