Is that bike safe?
“If your bike’s been in storage or you just haven’t used it for awhile you need to make sure it’s safe to ride” says AvantiPlus Technical Training manager Chris Wooloff. Here’s a quick mechanical safety check which you should use once you’ve cleared the cobwebs away. And you should get in the habit of making it every time you’re about to get on your bike.
Nuts, Bolts & Straps:
Lift the front wheel off the ground by about 10cm, then let it bounce on the ground. Does anything sound, feel or look loose?
Do a quick visual and tactile inspection of the whole bike. Are there any loose parts or accessories? If so, secure them. If you’re not sure, ask someone with experience to check.
Tyres & Wheels:
Are your tyres correctly inflated? Check by putting one hand on the saddle, one on the intersection of the handlebars and stem, then bouncing your weight on the bike while looking at tyre deflection. Compare what you see with how it looks when you know the tyres are correctly inflated, and adjust if necessary.
Are your tyres in good shape? Spin each wheel slowly and look for cuts in the tread and side wall. Replace damaged tyres before riding the bike.
Are your wheels true? Spin each wheel and check for brake clearance and side-to-side wobble. If a wheel wobbles side-to-side or hits the brake pads, take the bike to an AvantiPlus dealer to have the wheel trued.
Wheels must be true for the brakes to work effectively. Wheel truing is a skill which requires special tools and experience. Do not attempt to true a wheel unless you have the knowledge and tools needed to do the job correctly.
Squeeze the brake levers. Are the brake quick releases closed? Is the straddle cable securely engaged?
Are the brake shoes contacting the wheel rim within 25mm of brake lever movement? Can you apply full braking force at the levers without having them touch the handlebar? If not, your brakes need adjustment.
Riding with improperly adjusted brakes or worn brake shoes is dangerous and can result in serious injury.
Are the front wheel, rear wheel and seat post quick releases properly adjusted and in the locked position?
Riding with an improperly adjusted wheel quick release can cause the wheel to wobble or disengage from the bike, which can cause damage to the bike and serious injury.
Handlebar and saddle alignment:
Are the saddle and handlebar stem correctly installed, parallel to the bikes top tube and tight enough so you can’t twist them out of alignment?
• Are the handlebar grips secure and in good condition? If not, replace them.
• Are the handlebar ends and extensions (if you have them) plugged and tightened? If not, plug and tighten them before you ride.
Loose or damaged handlebar grips or extensions can cause you to lose control and fall. Unplugged handlebars or extensions can act like a cookie cutter on your body, and can cause serious injury in an otherwise minor accident.
Clean and lube it:
And after being in storage you bike will have accumulated dust and, possibly, cobwebs so a good clean with soapy water and a soft brush will make it all nice and shiny. It will make you feel more motivated to get out and ride too. Remember also to lubricate the chain after cleaning too.
Your AvantiPlus dealer can help:
If you’re not feeling confident in the state of your bike bring it into your nearest AvantiPlus dealer. We’re always happy to help you get out cycling safely.