Pre-Ride Check List
Used with permission from S. A. Joyce from this website
Don't show up for a bicycle ride with a scooter, a tricycle, training wheels, a child's bike, a single-speed "cruiser," a stunt bike, or a moped or other motorized bike. These devices have their place, but that place is not in a cycling event on public roads.
Do bring a properly fitting helmet and a roadworthy bicycle; a multiple-geared road or trail bike is best. In most cases, tandem and recumbent bicycles are suitable. Owners of streamlined bikes should bear in mind that such machines have low visibility to the rear and may be awkward to control in urban traffic.
In addition, bring a courteous, cooperative, and friendly attitude; "road warrior" types are a danger both to themselves and to others. Be alert and sober; alcohol not only impairs judgment and reflexes, but accelerates dehydration while reducing the body's ability to maintain a stable temperature. Partying is fine, but do it after the ride.
Your bicycle doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, but it should be in good repair and properly adjusted. Following is a quick and easy pre-ride check list.
- The frame and fork (especially welds) should be inspected for signs of cracking or corrosion.
- Bearings — including wheel, header (steering), pedal, and bottom-bracket (pedal crank) — should be free-turning, without sidewise play or wobble.
- Tires should have adequate tread and be inflated to maximum rated pressure for road use.
- Wheels should spin "true" (without appreciable wobble or hop), and should not bind against brake pads or frame.
- The chain should be checked for wear and stiff links, and should be clean and lubricated.
- All brake and shifter cables should be checked for fraying, binding, adjustment, and snugness of locknuts.
- Shift limiter screws should be set to prevent the chain from coming off the chainwheels and cogs.
- All fasteners should be checked for proper tightness, especially handlebars, seatpost, pedals, and wheel axles.
It is advisable to carry (or to ride with someone else who carries) the following:
- at least one bottle of water or other (non-alcoholic) drink for consumption between rest stops;
- tools, including tire levers, a tire pump, and wrenches and screwdrivers to fit the fasteners on your bike;
- a tire patch kit and a spare inner tube;
- a small first aid kit, with adhesive strips and disinfectant to treat minor scrapes and insect stings;
- a small amount of cash for food or an emergency phone call;
- personal identification, including information which might be needed in case of emergency.
Water bottles and tire pump can be mounted on the bicycle frame; other tools and first aid kit can be stowed in a "wedge pack" slung underneath the seat. If any part of the ride is expected to be after dark or during poor visibility, the bike should be equipped with a headlight and taillight (not just reflectors).
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