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Ride Checklists

The ABC Pre-Ride Checklist

It is critical to make sure your bike is safe before you ride. To accomplish this you should always do a quick safety check. A good way to remember the important parts of this inspection is the “ABCs of Bike Safety.” 

  • Air

  • Brakes

  • Chain

Air

Check your tire pressure. The appropriate tire pressure range is often written on the side wall of the tire. Never exceed the maximum tire pressure; this can result in tire rupture.  Low tire pressure makes it difficult to ride and makes the bike harder to control.

Brakes

Squeeze the brake levers and see if they feel tight. If you are unsure if they are working well test them right after you start riding to see if they will stop you effectively. If they don't, come to the Bike Cave and we can help you adjust them.

Chain

A well-lubricated chain is the easiest way to make riding easier. Chains should be lubricated once every 2 weeks at a minimum. Check your that your chain is free of rust and gunk.


Gear Checklist

What you need to bring with you on a ride often depends on how long the ride will be, and what the weather is.  Use the checklists below as a good starting point!

Short Commute

– defined as a trip that you could comfortably walk.

woman riding an orange bikeMaintenance note – A good indicator of maintenance is how a bike sounds. A well-adjusted bike should make a quiet whirring sound without any clicks, clacks, squeaks or other grating noises. If your bike is making unpleasant noises visit the Bike Cave for a free diagnostic.

Equipment

Front and rear light – to see and be seen. Any trip can take longer than you expect. Always bring lights.

Helmet – for safety. Helmets are designed to reduce the chance of head injuries and should always be worn, for even the shortest commute.

Lock – for security. You should always lock your bike to a bike rack when you leave your bike.

 

Long Commute

– defined as a trip that would be an unpleasant distance to walk. A long commute necessitates flat changing and other tools because you must be prepared to fix minor problems that may arise. Otherwise, a simple problem will force you to either walk an unpleasant distance or make the call of shame to get picked up by a friend.

Maintenance note – A good indicator of maintenance is how a bike sounds. A well-adjusted bike should make a quiet whirring sound without any clicks, clacks, squeaks or other grating noises. If your bike is making unpleasant noises visit the Bike Cave for a free diagnostic.

Equipment

Everything for a short commute, plus:

three cyclists on a long trail

Pump – for flats. A pump is critical to replace a flat. It should be small enough to be carried with you and good enough to fully pump up a tire.

Tube – for flats. The quickest way to fix a flat is to use a new tube. Be sure to run a finger on the inside of the tire to make sure there is not a sharp piece of debris in your tire.

Tire lever – for flats. Often the only way to get a flat tire off a rim is to lever it off with a tire lever.

Patch kit – sometimes you get two flats in one ride. Rather than carry a bunch of extra tubes, learn to use a patch kit.

Hex keys – for repairs. You don’t have to be a mechanic to fix a bike. Sometimes a part comes loose and all you need is a simple tool to fix it.

 

Winter Ride

– Cold does not affect the mechanics of a bicycle much but it does affect the rider! Cold weather can be fun to ride in as long as you are well prepared.

Maintenance note – A good indicator of maintenance is how a bike sounds. A well-adjusted bike should make a quiet whirring sound without any clicks, clacks, squeaks or other grating noises. If your bike is making unpleasant noises visit the Bike Cave for a free diagnostic.

Equipmentbike covered in snow

Everything for a long or short commute, plus cold weather equipment.  Cold weather equipment is based on what will keep the rider comfortable. Here are few examples:

Gloves – Cold hands aren’t just uncomfortable they can be dangerous. If too cold you might not be able to use the brakes to stop the bike.

Fenders – to prevent tire spray. It can rain any time and when it’s cold getting wet can be dangerous. Always use fenders in the cold.

Long socks – for your feet. Cold can seep up a swinging pant leg when riding in very cold weather. Wear long socks to keep your feet and lower leg warmer.

Headbands or ear muffs – Numb ears are painful. Just be sure you can still hear when wearing ear warmers.

 

Rainy Ride

– how to prepare for when it rains or might be rain later. A ride in the rain can be a fun and interesting experience if you are comfortable while doing it.

Caution: bikes handle differently in wet weather. Use caution when riding in the rain.

Equipment

bicycle seat in the rain

Everything for a long or short commute, cold weather equipment (if needed) and rain gear:

Raincoat – a decent raincoat makes a ride in the rain much more pleasant.

Rain pants – waterproof fabrics keep you comfortable and dry.

Fenders – These prevent the bicycle’s tires from splattering you with rain, dirt, and mud from the road.

Clear safety glasses – These prevent rain from getting in your eyes while riding.

Front and rear light – to see and be seen. These are important in the rain even during the daytime because rain reduces visibility.