Ensuring your bike is ready for your big day is just as important as your training leading up to the event. Here are a few tips to help ensure a successful ride:
- Make sure you’re comfortable. If your neck, shoulders or back are sore while riding, your bike may need fit adjustments.
- Check your tires and wheels. Tires should not be threadbare or have any gashes. If you’re planning on riding a hybrid or mountain bike, consider installing slick (not knobby) tires. It’s critical that tires be properly inflated (recommendations are listed on the sidewall of your tires) to roll efficiently and prevent pinch flats. Also, when you spin your wheel, it should be wobble-free.
- Brakes should firmly engage and bring you to a quick stop. Make sure the pads are not dry-rotted and that the grooves are free of dirt or gravel.
- Shifting should be crisp. If there is hesitation or, worse, if you’re dropping your chain, your derailleurs likely need to be adjusted.
- Listen for any rattles or squeaks. Aside from being annoying, these are telltale signs that your drivetrain needs to be lubricated or working parts need tightening.
If you are not comfortable doing your own maintenance, take your bike to your local bike shop. If you do plan to take your bike to a shop for repair, do it at least a week before the event. Why? You should plan to ride several times before your event to acclimate to any changes for adjustments. Be sure to tell them you’re riding in an event (provide the date) to ensure the bike is ready several days to a week before your event.