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Bike Safety Check

Get in the habit of completing this bike safety check

Failure to safety-check or maintain your bike can lead to accidents. Easily avoid some of these pitfalls with a simple bike safety check. Here are some refreshers on what to check and how often you should check your bike to ensure it’s safe for the road. Implement these safety checks before your next Rookie Triathlon training ride.

Things to check before every ride

  1. Tire pressure and road debris – keep pressure right at or near 5 to 10 lbs. below the recommended pressure. This will help prevent flats and by default extend the lifetime of your rim. Check for small thorns, staples, cuts, bald spots, or other problems with the outside of the tire.
  2. Bolts on the bike – make sure that the bolts on the stem, saddle, and seat post are nice and snug. Some bolts have a recommended torque due to the differences in the strength of the materials being used. If so, make sure bolts are tightened correctly. Most, if not all, bike stores carry torque wrenches.
  3. Tighten skewers – make sure both the front and rear skewers of the wheel are properly tightened and facing in the proper direction “back or up.”

Things to check every month

  1. Crank bolts – make sure that each crank bolt is nice and snug. These may work themselves out over time. An impact to the side of the bike is a common culprit to a loose crank.
  2. Headset – make sure that the headset is snug. A loose headset will lead to speed wobbles or a squirrelly bike.
  3. Trueness of wheels – make sure that your wheels are passing evenly through your brake calipers and frame. An untrue wheel could lead to broken spokes or uneven wear on your tires. If your tire is no longer true, follow this advice to true your wheel at home.
  4. General shifting of the bike – make sure that your chain is not dumping to the inside or out on the front set of rings. Make sure the rear derailleur is moving smoothly across your cassette and not rubbing on your rear wheel or frame. If this is occurring chances are your rear derailleur hanger has been slightly bent.
  5. Pedals – make sure both pedals are nice and snug. Remember the left pedal is reverse threaded. Pro tip: read our blog for a deeper dive into removing or replacing pedals.

Things to check every 2 to 3 months

  1. Inspection for cracks – clean the frame off with a damp rag or wash your bike. Inspect the entire frame, fork, seat post, and wheels for cracks, delaminating, or loosening of welds. If you find that any of these areas have been compromised in any way, “Do Not Ride The Bike.” Take it to your LBS “local bike shop” for inspection or have James Balentine with City Limit Cycles come to you. One more ride is not worth serious injury.

Note: Riders that race bikes, travel with their bikes, or know that they are tough on their equipment should run through this checklist before every ride.

Preventing Flat Tires

Use these tips to prevent flat tires

Tired of monkeying around with flat tires? Then check out these prevention tips:
What’s the number one cause of tire problems? If you guessed too little air pressure, then you’re right. Having a good floor pump is essential in helping to prevent flats. The pumps usually include gauges. A good floor pump will inflate tires faster and easier than the pump you carry on your bike for emergencies.

Monitor your tires for wear and tear. Road tires generally last about 1,500 miles when used on the rear and about twice that on the front. If you go any longer than that, flat tires are more likely to occur.

Regularly check your tread for cuts and debris. Outside objects aren’t always the culprit for flat tires. Sometimes the culprit is something sharp inside the rim. If the hole is on the “belly” of the tube (the same surface the valve is on), something inside the rim popped the tube. If the hole is on the outer surface, it was caused by something that penetrated the tire and tube.

For punctures on the tube’s belly, make sure that the rim strip is fully covering the nipple holes and that it can’t move out of position. If you find anything sharp on the rim, sand it smooth with a file or sandpaper.

Dealing with flats

If you follow all these steps and still suffer more than your share of flat tires, there are several additional options available, such as flat-resistant tires, tubes, and tire liners.
These tips are meant to prevent flats and help extend the life of your tires. All cyclists now flat tires are going to happen. If you’re on a ride and you have a flat, memorize these 10 steps for repairing your flat!