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6 Checks To Do Before You Ride Your Bike

6 Checks To Do Before You Ride Your Bike


– It’s not just if you’re taking the bike out of the garage for
the first time in ages or indeed if you’re lucky enough to be throwing your leg over a brand new bike. No, there are a few key safety checks which you should perform
periodically on your bike before you head out on your ride. You never know, it might
just save your skin. So coming up on GCN,
suggestions for exactly that, if you are new to the world of cycling. The first and most obvious thing to check is your tyre pressure. Now when you’ve been into
cycling for a short while, you will soon get used
to what it feels like to have the correct
pressure in your tyres. At that point it’s just
a case of pressing down with your thumb and
making sure that there’s enough air in them. In fact, I could do with
some here, in my rear tyre. Now it might be that your
innertubes are just leaking a little bit of air over
time, that’s perfectly normal. You might have a slow puncture. Either way it is a very
easy thing to remedy. If it’s the latter, it’s just a case of fixing the innertube or replacing it. If it’s the former, all you’ve
got to do is pump it up. Another really quick
and easy thing to check is that your quick releases are tight. Now there’s no real reason
for them to rattle loose over time but I tend to
do this before every ride just for my own peace of mind. These are a kind of spin-stick
style, so all you have to do is just turn them to make
sure that they are tight. If you’ve got the fairly
standard style quick releases it’s just a case of making
sure there’s enough pressure that you feel when you’re
closing the lever shut. So those two things I
do before every ride. Coming up are a few things I
do a little bit less often. And the first of those
things is the brakes. So first up, I lift the
front of the bike up, give the wheel a spin and
do the same at the back, just to make sure that
the pads aren’t rubbing against the braking surface. If they are, there could
be a number of reasons. It might just be that
the calliper is askew. That wouldn’t be the case
here because they are self-centering on the Sram callipers. However, for some callipers,
they can be rotated to either side. Just make sure that the
rim is in the middle of the brake pads. It might be that you have a buckled wheel. If that is the situation,
what you’ll find is that it’s rubbing on certain
parts of the wheel revolution and you’re probably
going to need to take it to a local bike shop to be sorted. Or you might have some
friction entering the cables in the brakes, in which
case the callipers won’t be springing out quite as
far as they need to. Again, you could try doing
that yourself with the help of our videos but it might just
be a case of just taking it to your bike shop to sort out. And finally, if the pads
have worn down a bit but there’s still a safe
amount of compound left there, or indeed if the cables have stretched, what you might find is that
you’re pulling your brake lever back pretty much to
the bars before they’re starting to engage. If that gets any worse, that’s
going to be very dangerous because your brakes are
not going to engage at all because the bar’s in the way. Again, a very simple thing to remedy, first of all you can try undoing
the barrel adjuster here, that, in effect, tightens
the cable and moves the pads closer to the rim surface. Or, if that’s not enough,
or the barrel adjuster is already wound out, you can
just reset the barrel adjuster by winding it all the way
in and then it’s just a case of undoing the cable crimp bolt here, pulling the inner cable through
and tightening it back up. Next up, every so often I would
check a few of the key bolts on the bike to make sure they
are at the correct torque. And on that subject, we
always recommend using a torque wrench, especially
if you are using carbon parts. You can use one like this,
but I particularly like this nice simple design from
our friends at Park Tools. With this one, you simply
select the torque that you want by turning this, and I’m going to leave it on five and a half. You will see written on
your stem should be a number with Nm written next to
it, that is Newton-meters. Always remember, that is the
maximum suggested torque. On here it’s written six Newton-meters, so I’ve set this to five and a half. It’s just a case of turning
it ’til it clicks like that and do the same on the other side. That’s fine. Then do the same up here, on the bolts by the handle
bars, one at a time. Then if you’ve got a little bit more time, another good one to check is
the saddle rails bolt here. You even see professionals
from time to time whose saddles come off
in the middle of a race, which is obviously not
what you want to happen. You can also check your pedals as well. And finally, one thing that a
lot of people forget to check are the bolts that hold
the cleats onto your shoes and they can rattle loose over time. Again, not something you
want to happen out on a ride because what you can find is
that you can’t get your shoe disengaged from the pedal. The headset is another part of your bike which can need some
attention from time to time. Firstly you pick up the
front end of your bike, turn the steering from
side to side and just check that it moves freely and it
also feels smooth as well. Headsets are another part which
can rattle loose over time. I’ve deliberately loosened this
headset for an example here. If you’re outside, you can
just drop it on the floor, the matting that we have
here in the workshop has dampened that slightly
so you can’t really hear it but if I just hold the front brake on, rattle it forwards and
backwards, you can hear that. Or if you cup your hand
around the headset cup at the top here, you’ll be
able to feel it as well. Once again, that’s a very easy job to do, tightening up your headset. All you’ve got to do is loosen
the stem bolts and tighten the top cap here and I will
link to a video which goes into more detail at the end of this video. So, those are all of our
pre-ride safety checks. However, here’s one
more small tip for you, something which I always
forget to do but often wish that I’d remembered: Before you go out for your
ride, pick your bike up and just turn the pedals. Can you hear that? That is a dry chain from when I was out on a very wet ride yesterday. That means that this chain
needs some lubrication. There’s nothing worse than
getting a couple of kilometres down the road and realising
that unless you turn back you’re gonna have a very squeaky ride. So I do tend to do that
now before I head out. So those are ours, as I said. If you’ve got any of
your own checks that you do meticulously before
each and every ride, we’d love to hear about those, or even if you’re superstitious about
something, you can let us know, as ever, in the comments
section, just down below. If you haven’t yet subscribed
to the Global Cycling Network it is free to do so. You will see a globe on
your screen somewhere now, just click on that. And then over on the left
hand side of me just now, are a couple of videos
I talked about earlier. First of all, just up there, is how to replace your brake blocks. And the one in that corner
down there is how to tighten your headset.

100 comments on “6 Checks To Do Before You Ride Your Bike

  1. I check my tires every 2-3 days, bolts and headset every other week due to the fact we have some very rough roads here in Oklahoma, USA. Clean and lube my chain as necessary or as conditions dictate

  2. Once, after a fast descent I've lifted my bike and my front wheel dropped off. Apparently when my bike was next to another bike the quick release got trapped and when I took my bike for a ride it opened without me noticing. Since then I always check if it's locked in place.

  3. On my first ride this year my right cleat came lose… now checking them regularly as it was not a very pleasant experience.

  4. my bike's tiers make a squeaking noise when ever i sit on them and the tire bump hole (i donk know what you call it) always move twords an angle after i ride and i dont know what i am doing wrong the tiers look like the have air could it be the pading in my rim that makes them do this?

  5. I check my bike and iv noticed some sprockets are really wearing teeth (on the crank 3x) almost as if they broke whats up with that? cheap? how to fix? upgrades? its a trek 2017 marlin 6

  6. On my mountain bike I'm always checking the bolt on the pivot of the seat stay, it wasn't fixed, when the bike was new, nearly leading to catastrophy… On my road bike I'm checking, if there is enough money in my pockets to get myself some coffee & cake on the way.

  7. I check if I went to toilet before riding – there is nothing worst than looking for quiet place just after warm-up.

  8. #torqueback what are the best all round rim break pads for summer, hot temperature with chances of showers

  9. I think the front tire is on incorrectly. ie. rotation direction

    You can tell at 2:09 – the tread pattern should be in the opposite direction.

  10. You missed the most important pre-ride check!!! Check your tires for visible signs of damage. This is NOT checking the tire pressure or checking the wheel rims. This is visually inspecting the surface and sidewalls of each tire the full way around for cuts, embedded objects, etc. The worst problem we have on the blacktop roads I ride are the small wire fragments that are shed by blown car and truck tires. These wires are extremely sharp and as stiff as piano wire. They are the #1 cause of flats on our pristine roads and, because they are so small, they are impossible to see while cycling. They will penetrate through virtually any tire — even the armored tires like Conti Gatorskins. BUT they don't always penetrate fully when they are first embedded. If you inspect your tires carefully after each ride, you can spot them and remove them before they penetrate to the inner tube.

  11. When i bought a second hand bike the quick release lever was pressed against the frame and wasn't engaged properly which i hadn't noticed until a few metres down the road when i lost my front wheel- very scary but lucky as i fell off well and didn't damage anything.

  12. Can you make a video on chinese carbon frames like the ones from dengfu usw. Could be a nice thing from all of us with a budget of maybe 1000€-1500€ that want to have quality time on good carbon.

  13. #AskGCN i just picked up my 2017 Giant Anyroad and after tweaking the front caliper to try and get rid of some rubbing the left brifter makes a tiny click in the first couple mm of travel no matter how fast or slow i pull the brakes, is that from the cable snagging somewhere or am i ok to keep riding?

  14. I wash the tyres with a rag, then run my fingers over them to check that there'e no glass or thorns embedded in them.

  15. The left brake is for the rear wheel?! Seems that there is a difference to Germany where the left one is for the front wheel and the right one is for the rear

  16. If I'm going for more than 40 miles or so, I always like to check the indexing on my derailleurs! Quick check on the tires for any debris, and I try to clean/re-grease the bike once a month. Keeps things clean, safe, and fun to ride! Best from D.C.-

  17. I check nothing before I go out. I'll fix anything that has come up on the last ride. (Is a good time to check over other things) & I periodically check everything else for wear & tear and fix/ replace as needed. I like to do minimal maintenance.

  18. For my 9 year old bike which is slowly falling apart, I do the checks in the video and a few more.
    Place fingers on tyre as if checking pressure, and see if there's any movement in the wheel that could indicate an axle or hub issue.
    Place hand on crank arm and see if there's any play in the BB.
    Check pedals to see if they'll fall off on this ride or the next.
    Listen to the jockey wheels while turning the pedals, are they completely ruined or just slightly ruined, still life left until they crumble.
    Check the gears, are they indexed correctly? No, they haven't been indexed correctly for years, since the wheel is no longer aligned with the frame, but can it still be ridden? Yes, go have fun, carefully.

  19. i would check hub preload to see if the wheel shakes. Wipe down my chain before every ride because it keeps producing excess lube. i would torque my cleats to about 2.5nm. any tighter it will seize in the shoes and damage the threads.

  20. Never trust a workshop that looks as clean as this one. I've worked for some proper plonkers who treated their workshop like their bathroom, and turned out some proper crappy work from them.

  21. When you shoot your videos how do you keep the audio so clean? What kind of microphones allow to talk so clearly and without the noise of the wind? This is bothering me more than it should, please answer. I love your videos, have a nice week.

  22. this is all good and stuff, but I feel the checks not directly on your bike are as important if not more: check if you have your house keys before locking yourself out, check if you forgot to put the inner tube back in the seatbag with tire levers, check if you got some money for any emergency and so on…

    murphy's laws clearly state that every time you'll forget the spare inner tube you'll puncture.

  23. I'll second the Quick Release check. I'd never done this before, until two week's ago when I Wattage Bazooka'ed my rear wheel loose!

  24. I decline to sit through a 90 second add for Optivo, and other irrelevant tripe, to view your content. I am unsubscribing.

  25. Always check to make sure I have my Road ID! Also, my GCN Water Bottle… oh wait… still need to get one of those…

  26. I've add my worn out cleat give out on me. It was like doing a slide with the now free leg stretched forward. Not fun on asphalt ha ha. When the friction became too great from the slide I of course flipped over with the bike.

    BTW are there road bike shoes that you can walk on without looking like you're a drag queen wearing high heels on ice?

  27. Ive come unstuck once and very embarrassing, Frame mounted pump when needed didn't work due to water/dirt ingress, just when I needed it and at a distance from home requiring international rescue. Don't forget to check the pump from time to time or have a back up inflation.

  28. After the bike ride I clean the bike while checking the part if it's good. Ready for the next Ride…..

  29. Love your videos… Keep it up guys…

    Do we also need to check saddle bolts as well before the ride just in case?

  30. Safety?
    First thing I noticed is that the front wheel is on backwards! Continental 4000sII have the rotation direction indicated on the right side of the tire beside "Made in Germany"

  31. contents of my saddle bag:
    tube
    multi-tool (Crank Bros. F-15),
    tire patch kit (Lezyne Lever Patch Kit)
    inflator and air cartridges
    I.D. and a few bucks for whatever.

  32. I have a 1951 cws stirrup brake bicycle (very rare) and i refuse to get it wet like a rain ride because the wheels are beginning to rust out
    -Thanks for the ideas on what to check

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