Our current locked-down lives, quieter roads and one form of outdoor exercise a day is encouraging lots more people to get out on their bikes – which is great to see! While this includes many brand-new bikes, we are also seeing a lot of bikes being dusted off from the garage or the shed that may not have seen the light of day for some time. For those of you bringing your bikes out of hibernation, here are some hints and tips on how to check your bike over to keep you safe and getting the most out of your cycling.
- How old are your tyres? – If your bike hasn’t been used for a while and has been kept with the tyres deflated tyres, even for as little as 6 months, they may have become cracked or perished and will need replacing. If the tyre quality is looking good, make sure that they are inflated to the correct pressure level – this can be found on the side wall of every tyre.
- Are your brakes working effectively? Once you have your bike moving, the most important thing is that you can actually stop. To check the brakes are stopping the wheels effectively when you pull the brake leavers, simple roll the bike gently forward and pull the front brake first. If the back of the bike rises off the ground, then your front brakes are functioning well. Repeat this in the opposite direction with the rear brakes, if the front of the bike rises off the ground then you’re good to go!
- Check all your cables – Check both your gear and brake cables and make sure they are not frayed along their length, especially where they attach to the brake callipers and gear mechanisms. If they are damaged, we would recommend changing them as soon as possible as they could pull through the pinch bolts. If this happens at best you may not be able to change gears, at worse you may not be able to stop!
- Turn your wheels – Make sure your wheels are not buckled and there are no snapped spokes. If you spin the wheel and there is any side-to-side movement this could mean that there is a buckle in your wheel. A buckled wheel will affect your ability to ride and could eventually start rubbing against the bike frame.
- How does your chain look? – Make sure your chain isn’t rusted and when you turn the pedals make sure all of links are running smoothly through the gears. A rusty chain won’t get you very far and is likely to cease up or snap as you are riding along.