Before getting on your bike for a big ride, there’s a few things you should check.
Check the wheels.
It may sound silly, but if you have quick release skewers, make sure they are tightened correctly. Be sure to give the wheels a quick spin to make sure that there aren’t any buckles and they’re not touching the frame, fork or brake pads. It’s worth paying attention to the hub too and making sure there aren’t any noises coming from there, otherwise you’ll probably need to make some adjustments.
Generally speaking, most tyres will have the pressure range on the side wall. As a general rule, you’re most likely wanting to go to 110/120 PSI depending on your size and your style. Give the tyre a once over and be sure to check for any cuts or scratches which could let an inner tube pop through and leave you with a flat. Make sure you’ve got enough tread on both tyres, and you’ll probably need a replacement if the tyre’s cross-section is no longer round. (It will start to take on a bit of a square shape).
Test those brakes
These things are mightily important. Give the wheels a spin and check both the front and rear brakes and test them independently of each other. Make sure the brakes are actually engaging before the brake lever reaches the bars, and also make sure there’s enough stopping power to be safe. Give your brake pads a once over and make sure they’re not too worn. Pay extra attention to where they hit the rim and make sure they contact the rim evenly on both sides and don’t rub the tyre in any way, otherwise you’ll end up with a flat.
Lube the chain.
There are many styles of lube available, and it all depends what sort of conditions you’re riding in. We’d suggest you head to your local bike shop and have a chat about what would be appropriate for you. When you go to apply lube, apply a small dose to the inside of the chain as you pedal backwards (this helps push the lube into the chain parts).
Check your gears.
Make sure the rear derailleur shifts evenly and smoothly between all your gears on your cassette, and make sure it’s not falling off, particularly on the front chain rings and ensure things are running smoothly between the small and large chain rings.
Bike SA strongly suggests heading to your local bike-shop a few weeks before your ride and asking for a pre-ride check. Our next big ride is taking place on Sunday 6 November, Amy’s Ride SA.