Nothing in this world is maintenance-free. Especially if you are talking about machines. Not to mention, bicycles are no exceptions. Inspecting your bicycle regularly and taking timely measures will keep your bicycle running with minimum downtime.
Maintenance includes weekly inspections, monthly inspections, and more importantly pre-ride bike inspections. You should develop a habit of inspecting your bicycle whenever you are about to hit the road. Make sure you have the requisite tools for this job. Your pre-ride bike inspection should include the following checks.
Check Your Tires
This is the first and foremost important thing to check. Make sure the tires have the right pressure. The pressure range for a tire is normally specified by the manufacturer.
How to Check Tire Pressure?
By gently pressing it with your thumb you can get a fair idea of whether the pressure is right or not. However, for a more accurate measurement use a bike tire pressure gauge. If there is a need, use an air pump to achieve the desired air pressure.
The following graph by bikebarnracing.com can be referred to check what tire pressure you should have.
Observe the outer surface of both the tires. Make sure they are free of cuts, cracks, and any pointed object.
Inspect the Brakes
The last thing you want while going on a ride is a bicycle with faulty brakes. Therefore, no pre-ride bike inspection could be complete without inspecting brakes.
Before you go out, make sure the brakes are in optimum condition. Hold the front brake lever tightly and rock the bike forward and backward. Make sure the bike does not slip or screech.
If there is a slight difference, use an Allen key to tighten the brake cable. If the problem still exists, you might have to service the brake cable and levers or might need to change the brake pads.
In case you want to inspect your brake pads too, you can learn it here.
Inspect the Chain
Make sure the chain is not unnecessarily loose. If it is, it will keep falling off. Before you proceed any further, grab a wrench to loosen the axle nut and fix it (in the case of fixed-gear bikes). If you have adjustable gears, turn the screw to fix it.
Make sure the chain is clean and lubricated so that it runs smoothly. If the chain has weak links, consider getting it changed.
Check the Bike Seat
Make sure the seat height and position are properly adjusted as per your convenience. It would keep you comfortable during the ride.
Give the seat a few smacks at the front and rear end to make sure the bolts are properly secured. If the seat does not hold on to its position, tighten the screws.
Check the Pedals
A faulty bicycle pedal can cause a threat to your safety. Make sure they are not too tight and neither too loose. Also, make sure the axles on the bike’s pedals are not bent.
Inspect the Frame
The frame of your bike should be crack free. Though it is highly unlikely for a frame to develop a crack overnight, it is always advisable to be on the safe end. Ensure that the headset is play-free. Never ride a bike with a loose headset.
It only takes a few minutes to perform these checks and only a few more to fix any minor fault if you have the necessary tools. These few minutes will ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable outing.