Before every ride, I check that my bike is in good working order. I may not do this for the morning commute but before every, longer weekend ride. It doesn’t take long (10-15 minutes at most) and reduces the possibility of a failure when I’m out on the road.
This is what I do –
- I generally wash the bike immediately after a ride, and clean the chain with a biodegradable degreaser before hanging it to dry. Before the next ride, I start by lifting the bike down, placing it on the repair stand, and quickly wiping it down with a damp cloth to remove any dust or dirt. This is not necessary but I want it to look its best.
- I carefully put a drop of light chain oil on each and every chain link, one drop at a time where the chain is stretched over the idler pulley, and then run through all of the gears on both of the chainrings making certain the gear changes are crisp, positive, and precise. If not, I adjust the derailleur cable tension using the barrel adjuster. And then I wipe excess oil from the chain back pedalling the right crank with my right hand with a clean cloth wrapped around the chain in my left.
- I lightly spray WD40 on the moving parts of both the front and rear derailleurs, and brakes, careful to wipe off any excess oil.
- I carefully check both the front and rear tires looking for imbedded stones, glass or other objects that may work its way through the tire, and potentially puncture the inner tube.
- I wipe the wheel rims and brake pads with a damp cloth removing any dirt or grease.
- I tighten the stem and handlebar bolts using a 5Nm torque wrench. They can loosen, and I don’t want them to fail, particularly on a long, fast descent.
- I check tire pressure. In fact, I deflate each of the tires a little and then pump it up to the desired pressure. In my case that is usually 100 psi in the back and 85 psi in the front. In the wet weather, I dial this back ~ 10% to provide better grip.
- I loosen and retighten the quick releases front and back making certain the wheel is properly seated, and centred.
- I make certain the tire diameter is set correctly on my cycle computer. I use it on each of the bikes and need to reset the diameter whenever I switch bikes.
- And, lastly I check there is a spare tube, tire irons, a CO2 cartridge, and a multi-tool in my saddle pack. After last weekend’s flat-tire-episode, I’m going to also carry a patch kit, and an additional CO2 cartridge just in case of a second flat.
Now I’m ready to suit up, fill my water bottles, and hit the road.
This may seem excessive to some of you. Perhaps it is, but this is how I look at it. I cycle a long way from home on quiet, rural roads whenever possible. The last thing I want is a breakdown. They happen sometimes, but to a large degree, they are preventable. I also replace chains, break pads, and cables before they probably need to be changed out. Again, I don’t want any of them to fail at 60 kph.
Call me excessive, if you like 🙂