Checking your bike and tyres


It’s important to check your bike each time before you ride to make sure it’s safe. If you're unsure about any aspect of your bike then the best thing is to always take it to an experienced bike mechanic / shop for a service.

Alternatively attend a bike maintenance course that will teach you invaluable skills so you can look after your bike.

The list below is not exhaustive but covers some key points:

    • Apply both brakes firmly. They should stop your bike after moving through no more than half of your bike lever’s travel.
    • Check that the brake blocks line up correctly with the rim and not the tyre. Are they excessively worn? If in any doubt, replace them.
    • Make sure that your brake cables are tightly secured at the brakes and are not frayed. Again if in doubt, take them to an experienced bike mechanic.
    • While you're on the brakes, rock the bike back and forth. If you feel play or looseness, then your brakes or headset are loose. Take them to mechanic so they can be checked and adjusted.
    • Check that your handlebars are secure in the stem and the stem is secure in the front forks. Try to rotate the bars forward, backward and side-to-side. If there’s any movement, tighten the bolts securing the handlebars or stem. Don’t over tighten the bolts!
    • Check that both wheels are firmly attached to the frame by rocking them from side to side. Play in the wheels can mean one of two things; either the wheel is loose or there is wear in the bearing. The former is more serious, but both will require attention. Make sure that the wheel nuts or quick release is securely fastened - if the play persists, take it to a bike mechanic so they can adjust your wheel bearings.
    • On smooth, flat ground at a safe traffic free location, check that you can easily change from one gear to another and that the chain doesn't skip off the cogs. It can be really dangerous if you unship your chain in traffic. If the chain slips, get your bike to a bike mechanic to be checked over.
    • If you're going out at night or in poor visibility, make sure that your lights are correctly attached and working properly.

Checking your tyres

    • Always keep your tyres pumped up within their recommended range of pressures. They'll roll better, last longer and be more puncture resistant.
    • Check your tires regularly for embedded thorns, glass and other debris. If there’s anything embedded without a puncture, then remove the offending object before it punctures your inner tube.
    • Cuts in your tyre can be repaired with superglue. First deflate the tire then clean the area, let it dry and before drizzling a small amount of superglue into the cut. Press it together for a minute or so and your tyre should then be repaired.
    • Never ride on a flat tyre, it'll damage your tyres, tubes and rims.