Before you head out on your bike, make sure to do these five quick safety checks.
1. Brakes: For obvious reasons this is the No. 1 thing you should check before every ride. Give the wheel a spin and make sure your stoppers are stopping. If you can pull the brake lever to the bar, it probably means it’s time for a new set of brake pads. Also keep an eye out for brake rub, which is usually an indication that your caliper is out of alignment or that the wheel isn’t probably secured in the frame or fork drop-out. Finally, if there is a lot of friction when you pull the lever, it’s likely time to replace your brake cables.
2. Tire Pressure: Nearly all tires have a recommended pressure range printed on the sidewall. Make sure you’re within that range. More experienced riders will be able to do this simply by squeezing their tires. But until you reach that point check with a tire gauge or floor pump.
3. Quick Release: It’s never a bad idea to check on the component that’s responsible for keeping your wheels attached to your bike. Undo both front and rear skewers and make sure they are adequately tight and that your wheels are properly seated in the dropouts of your frame and fork.
4. Headset: This doesn’t have to happen before every ride, but it’s so simple to do you might as well. Simply grab your brakes tight so the wheels can’t roll, then gently rock your bike back and forth. If you feel any play in the headset, then it’s time to tighten things up. While you’re at it, conduct similar checks of your front and rear hubs and cranks, making sure all are tight and secure.
5. Tires: Last but certainly not least, take a minute to give your tires a good once-over, making sure there are no obvious tears, cuts or embedded objects in the sidewall. If there is, it’s time for a new tire.