Preparation & Safety
Have a Bicycle Tool Kit
Before heading out on your ride, be sure to have the following basic tools with you – either in a backpack or attached to your saddle bag. The following basic tools will enable you to make repairs so that you or a friend can continue enjoying your ride:
- Spare Tube that is the correct size for your bike’s tire
- Patch Kit containing patches, cement, and sandpaper. Be sure to frequently check before you go on a ride that the cement has not dried out.
- Tire Levers to help remove and replace the tire on the rims. Have at least two levers.
- Tire Boot is a special patch that you insert into your tire when it has a cut – often on the sidewall. In a pitch you could use paper currency or something placed between the tire and tube.
- Air Pump either attached to your frame or carried in your back pack. Be certain it fits your value type (Presta or Schrader)
- Mini Tool Set that has at a minimum hex keys (2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, and 8mm), chain tool, screwdriver (flat head and Phillips).
- Cash is good to have in the event of an emergency. A credit card is good to have as well.
- Identification like your driver’s license, or contact information located in your helmet, is a wise plan.
Do a Daily Safety Check
It is also a good practice to do a safety check on your bicycle before going on a ride. Below are some basic checks to do before and after every ride. When you discover one of the checks needs attention, then either do it yourself or take the bike to a qualified bike mechanic at your local bike shop. Here are some safety checks:
Pre Ride Check
- Check that your Tool Kit has all the items listed above.
- Check Tire Pressure (tire pressure range is embossed on the sidewall of the tire).
- Check Quick Releases are securely tightened and rims are properly aligned with frame.
- Check Brakes function properly — are they gripping firmly, properly aligned with the rims, needing replacement?
- Check Hydraulic Brake Lines for kinks, splits or leaks.
- Check Chain is lubricated (wipe with a cloth to remove dirt, reapply lube, wipe excess lube off)
- Check Proper Seat Height
- Check Shocks/Suspension functioning properly
- Bounce bike to learn if there are any suspicious rattles or squeaks
Post Ride Check
- Inspect Tires for cuts, glass, deflation, and rims to see if they are bent
- Using a brush Clean Cogs (gears on rear axle) and with a cloth wipe chain clean and re-lubricate.
- Remove dust/dirt from shock stanchions.
- Check hydraulic disc brake lines for kinks, splits and/or leaks, and rotators for damage (bent)
- Clean frame with a cloth or if muddy then use a water hose but be cautious not to direct flow on key bearings.
- Clean seat post and if wet, turn bike upside down to remove water, wipe dry and grease seat tube.
- Check for cracks on frame, handle bar, stem, fork, and rims