If we told you that there’s one simple thing you could do to avoid breakdowns on your bike rides, you’d do it, right? If so, it is worth looking at your pre-ride routine. You can avoid most mishaps by checking that you have a few key tools on hand, enough food and water and your bike is in tip-top condition.
Here is a basic pre-ride checklist. We recommend that you run through it before your shoe clips into the pedal. In no time, this checklist will be second nature.
YOUR REPAIR KIT
Maintaining a complete repair kit on each of your bikes is the best way to avoid getting stranded. Getting instruction on the key repairs (flat tire, chain repair and bolt check) will boost your confidence by ensuring you are ready when the time comes to do any repairs on a ride. Carry a multi-tool with a chain breaker, at least one inner tube, a patch kit and a functioning pump on your bike — and test your tools, tubes and pump once a month and before any epic rides.
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The standard pre-ride check involves a quick squeeze of the tire or using a gauge to set pressure. Then check to make sure that your wheels roll without any brake rub and that your quick-releases and main components are tight. Bottle cages, seat posts and saddle bags are notorious for loosening due to vibration, so give them a once-over. For commuters and those who push daylight hours, lights and high-vis accessories are a must — and make sure everything is working and charged before heading out.
Stashing a spare gel or bar in your bag can help you, or another rider (your new best friend) if fuel stores run low. For epic days, a good rule of thumb is to have about 200 calories of food for each hour. And it’s always a good idea to carry a few extra hours’ worth in case you go long — or a fellow rider didn’t come as well prepared.
Checking the weather forecast and knowing the possible range of weather on your route will ensure you are prepared for whatever you pedal through. If you are heading into the mountains, bring a small, packable rain-jacket because the weather can change quickly. If there is a chance of wind, high temperatures or precipitation, you will want to bring clothing options to adapt to the riding conditions and stay comfortable.
As cyclists, our goal is self-sufficiency on the bike. The key to efficient riding, better performance and more enjoyable rides is solid preparation.
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT RIDE