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What Things on the Bike Should Every Cyclist Check Before They Ride?

What Things on the Bike Should Every Cyclist Check Before They Ride?


– Morning, it’s Jim Dodson,
the Florida Bike Guy. Welcome to our livestream. We’re joined this morning
by Ian from Chainwheel Drive in Clearwater of the Drew Street location, and we’re gonna do a little walkthrough on what we need to remember
and check your bike before you take off on your ride. You know, we’re getting
to that time of year where some people have maybe
had their bike in the garage for the summer, you wanna
get out and ride again, and it’s amazing the little
things that can cause an issue on a ride and just kinda
take the edge off having a great time if you haven’t looked at it, and inspected your bike
adequately before you left. So, Ian, why don’t you
just walk us through what you guys at the shop
consider a basic safety check for someone who’s going out for a ride. – Sure. So, first and foremost we
wanna look over our tires, and make sure that there’s
no visible damage to them, any big cuts, any lacerations,
anything that could let the tube bubble out and burst. While we’re doing that,
just simply pick up the rear of the bike and follow it by the front, and you can spin it around and
just kind of use your fingers to check the tire as well
as the tire pressure, so you’re really doing two things at once. Shouldn’t take more than a moment. Once you’ve got that taken care of, if you move to the skewers,
so the collapsing mechanism that holds the wheel into
the frame, just double check that they’re good and snug. General rule of thumb is that
if an infant can open it, it’s not tight enough. So we wanna make sure that that’s tight enough.
– The skewers are on the front and rear correct?
– Correct, yup. – And they’re holding, on a bike like this they’re holding the frame
snugly to the wheel. – Absolutely. So once you’ve gotten
through those two steps, we wanna try to recount the
last time that we lubricated the chain. It’ll make crazy sounds if
it’s not properly lubricated. So a little bit of chain lube,
even cable lube at this point would be better than
nothing at all if it’s been a season or two since
you’ve gone out for a ride. – Walk somebody through
a basic chain lube. ’cause I think most of
us think we need more oil on the chain than we
do, and that we need it in the wrong places. So where do we really need it? – Absolutely. If you look down at the
chain, you really only need it on the top of the rollers. The faceplate doesn’t
really do a whole lot of heavy lifting, it’s just
kinda there to guide the rollers over the chain rings in the cassette. So less is actually more, it
doesn’t need to be saturated. It shouldn’t be dripping
off, it’s gonna pull a lot of road debris and grime up into it. – Gonna get under your leg,
it’s gonna splatter upon the frame of the bike. – You’re gonna ruin your favorite shorts. You’re gonna have grease
all over your brand new kit. – So how do ya actually do it? Somebody who wants to lube but
they don’t feel comfortable doing it, what would they do? – A bike stand is ideal,
but if you’ve got, you know, just yourself and your own
two hands, you can kinda just hold the bike up with
your pelvis and lean over it, and if you spin the cranks
backwards, you can just drip a little bit of lubricant
in between each chain link and just go around until it’s
a little bit here and there, and then just tidy it
up with your fingers, by just running your
fingers back and forth. And as you pull it backwards, you can move your fingers forward, and of
course you’re gonna pick up a little bit of nonsense,
but that’s what soap and water’s for, so we can
clean our hands when we’re done, but that ensures a much more smooth shifting system. – Yes, and really, not
having a properly lubed chain can dramatically impact how
much fun you’re gonna have on the bike that day. – Absolutely. – If they sit around for half the season and you’re not using it, it
can rust and it’s gonna make a lot of chain noise ’cause
it’s not gonna shift properly. You have all kinds of issues. – Yeah, a clean bike and
a well lubricated bike is a happy bike. So, now that we’ve kinda covered the basic maintenance facets
of the pre-bike check, we really wanna make sure
that our contact points are snug and secure. If you just give your saddle
a little bit of a twist, if it’s not moving at all,
the likelihood that the bolt is tensioned correctly is pretty good. With the handlebars, along the
same lines, if you just put a little bit of your body
weight over the handlebars. Even with a flat bar you
can put your hands on the break levers, the drop
bars a little bit easier to do. Just give it a good stress,
that way we’re making sure it’s not slipping in the stem. Alternatively, if you come
around the front of the bike, you can double check that
the stem on the back side of the handlebar is snugged securely, and everything seems to be in order here. And then certainly not least, but lights. Even during the day, you wanna
be as visible as possible. – And what would they… I’m gonna talk about
the lights in a second. Address the brake issue for a second, what are they looking
for in terms of brake pad and especially on a rim-type brake, one that’s rubber against
the rim of the tire. – So both rim brakes and disc
brakes have wear indicators on them. The rim brake is quite simply
that there’s a line etched in to the top of the brake pad itself. If you can still see that,
the likelihood that you’re in good shape is pretty good. The other immediate tell
is if you can’t pull your brake lever all the
way to the handlebar, you’re probably pretty good. – Right, okay, all right. – The brake check also,
since you mentioned it, would probably also
include making sure that the pads collapse on the
rim at the exact same time. That way you’re not over
braking one side of the wheel and causing it to push over
one direction or other. – Right, and what’s the
proper braking ratio between front and rear brake. You don’t wanna, nobody wants to use the front brake
exclusively, it’s a danger. – I always start with just
rear, and apply the appropriate amount of pressure of the
front to make sure I stop where I want to. – All right, that’s a
good rule to keep in mind because you can have a
terrible accident hitting the front brake with full force. Bike’s gonna stop and you’re not. – Absolutely. Front’s for the bars as they say. – Yeah, the wood bars. Anything else from your standpoint? – Make sure your water
bottles have topped up. So, water bottles, make sure you have your roadside assistance kit,
make sure your helmet’s within three to five years – the
EVA foam does break down. If you haven’t bought a helmet recently, there’s a lot of brand new
really phenomenal technology that came out. – So I’m wearing, this
is actually a Bontrager – Wavecel.
– Wavecel technology. I also have the MIPS technology,
Specialized makes them, their brand, everybody makes them now. I wouldn’t get on a bicycle
anymore without Wavecel or MIPS, it’s just the safest thing to do. It’s gonna give you
that extra edge you need to keep yourself safe. Address the mirror
issue, if you would, Ian. – Yeah, absolutely. So, we ride with traffic, so we
ride on the right-hand side. – Never ride against traffic.
– Never ride against traffic. So having a side view
mirror is a lot more of a confidence thing. You can see what’s going on behind you. It’s more predictable
turning if you’re going left. You’re able to kinda see
the pace line behind you if you are riding in a group ride. But even as a more casual
endeavor, having a mirror, you can just get that 360 view. – Yeah, and you can get a
clip-on that goes on your helmet. I don’t like, me personally,
like anything on my helmet, that close to my face, so
I use a mirror that goes on the end of my handlebar
there and I really have had this mirror, actually a friend
gave it to me, it works great and I’ve had it for years. It’s a great confidence
builder, as Ian said. – So we’ve got it right here on the non-drive side handlebar. – Here you see through the
gest you can move it around while you’re riding, you get
down on the drop some times you wanna move it so you
get a better view of the… And I keep it so I’m
seeing just to my left, what’s in the lane immediately to my left, and somewhat behind me in case
somebody’s coming up close. That’s my personal setting. This bike’s equipped with a computer, and that’s definitely
optional, but it’s fun to know exactly how far you’ve
gone, and quite frankly, if you’re ever involved in a
bike crash, the first thing we always wanna get
hold of, is the GPS data from your computer, because
this tracks where you are, it tracks you on the road. You can overlay this on a map, you can tell where you were
in relation to a stop sign, or the through lane or the
bike lane – it’s critical data to reconstruct a bike crash,
and so there’s a lot of inexpensive computers out
there that just give you speed that are not gonna give you, you know, where you are GPS-wise. So I recommend having a GPS computer, just in case the unexpected happens. It’s made a huge difference
in cases of ours. So a couple things that Ian
and I were gonna talk about. First is visibility. You know, obviously we have
this well logo-ed Jim Dodson Law jersey, which we give away in
the contests and what have you but, you know, the data
shows that if you’re wearing a highly visible
fluorescent colored jersey, there’s a lot of data… There’s a Denmark study
that showed that your odds of being hit went down by 50%. They used a yellow jacket
in the Denmark study. People need to distinguish you from the surrounding background. I always wear fluorescent socks. You can add shoes to
that as well, I’ve got the same color shoes, not on me right now, but the movement of your
feet when you’re pedaling identifies you as a person on a bicycle to an approaching motorist,
and wearing the socks, believe it or not, is just
as important, the data shows, as wearing the fluorescent top. Quite frankly I see a
lot of people dressed in very cool looking dark black, blue outfits, on dark bikes, and they look
good, but they can’t be seen in my view. Remember, we’re trying
to attract the attention of where we are in the
relationship of someone seeing us, who’s making a split
decision about making a turn or coming into your lane. You’ve got to distinguish
yourself from all of the visual clutter that’s
in their visual field. So highly visible clothing
is a must in my view. I’ve purposely bought the Wavecel because of the color of the helmet. It’s just another edge for being seen. Communication wise, we have
the, our Jim Dodson Law jerseys, jersey band, which is actually
just a waterproof phone case, goes right in the back of my
jersey, keep my phone with me. In my situation I always
carry 20 bucks, I have some ID in here, I have my drivers
license in here, and some people wanna put a credit card in
there, for whatever you need. So this is a good idea to keep with you and it’s always handy for you. When you talk about lighting,
I’m a big proponent of not only lighting, but bright lighting. There’s a big study, Trek has
something on their website, I’m not sure if Specialized
does, on the ABC’s of lighting. – Yip.
– Most everybody does. But the big thing for me
is, this is not a place where you wanna save 10 bucks. You need a light which
is gonna be visible. It’s gotta be visible to a
motorist hundreds of yards ahead of you, and they’ve gotta
pick you out during the day as a cyclist, so get the
brightest blinking tail light that you can get. The same applies to the headlight. This is a NiteRider 650 I think it is, or 550. So this is a NiteRider 550,
I did a program on this last week. Put it on the blinking mode. The data is so strong
that a blinking headlight is what you need to ride during the day, to separate you from the
surrounding visual clutter. I don’t particularly like riding at night. I like the NiteRider. We did a program on that
recently, but there’s a lot of great technology on
bike lights right now, and they’re not expensive. These lights are usually around 50 bucks. – Yeah, they’re getting cheaper
and brighter by the day. – Yeah, they are. So, I think we’ve covered it. Oh, spare tire. – Yeah, absolutely. – So this isn’t attached to my bike here, this is a saddlebag. Goes under the rear seat
in my situation, they have saddlebags that go on here,
they go under the top tube, so tell ’em what you need in there Ian. – Definitely a spare tube,
just in case you run over a nail or something pops the tube. I carry a single dollar
bill, but you’re ahead of me, by about 19. You can use the dollar
bill to boot the tire, that way if you do run
over a piece of glass or a sharp rock or something
that lacerates the tire, you can actually use the
dollar bill as a placeholder for the rubber that’s missing,
that way the tube doesn’t bubble up and pop. Also in there is gonna be the tire levers. It’s the easiest way to
get the tire off the rim to do the repair job in a timely fashion. And then, in addition to that,
you’ve got a CO2 cartridge and an inflator. Some people prefer shock or
frame pumps that will mount somewhere under the bottle cages. Some of them are compact enough
to fit in jersey pockets. But if something does
happen, having the stuff, even if you don’t know how to
use it, is half the battle. Needing it and not
having it is the problem. Different people run
different depth wheels, so not everyone is
gonna ride past you with the same valve length. But more importantly than
all that, get out of the sun, find some shade, otherwise
you’re gonna burn through your hydration, freaking
out about your tube. – Cyclists are really
considerate, they stop and help one another, so if you have a
flat you can always Google it. They’ll walk you through
how to change a front tire, they’ll walk you through
how to change a rear tire. So even if you’ve never done
a flat repair, you can get by on the side of the road with your phone. So, I think we’ve covered
it this morning Ian. I wanna thank Ian from Chainwheel Drive. This has been a great
walkthrough on what we need to remember before we get
out and start our ride each week. If you have questions or
concerns that you want to address to us, feel
free to call us and… So this is Jim Dodson,
The Florida Bike Guy. Kati’s gonna post an offer
for our free bike light, I mean our report on bike lights. So if we can help in any way, be in touch. Jim Dodson, be good out there, be safe. Bye.

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