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Do it Yourself: Get Your Bike Ready to Ride

If you haven’t ridden your bike in a while, there are a few simple things you can do to make sure it’s safe.

1 Min. Read | Home & Backyard

Check Your Air Pressure

All tires tend to lose air pressure if they sit for a while. Make sure yours are inflated to the specifications found on the sidewall of the tire.

Also, check the tires for signs of wear and rot. Flex the sidewalls of the tire and inspect closely for cracking. Even an unused tire will develop dry rot over time.

Check Your Brakes

Check the brake levers and cables to make sure they properly apply the brake pads to the rim of the tire so you can safely stop.

Next, check the pads themselves for wear. If there’s less than 1/16th-inch of pad left, you’ll need to install new pads.

If your bike has disc brakes, it’s a bit tougher to figure out they’re worn. If your brakes are making noise when applied, this is a sign of wear or contaminated pads. If there’s any question, have your bike shop check them out.

Check Your Chain

Here is a quick way to determine if your chain is worn: Shift to the large chainring and then pull the chain away from the teeth. If you can see daylight between the chain and the teeth, it’s time to replace it.

Often, all that’s needed is to clean and lube your chain. Apply a little citrus degreaser to a rag. Hold the rag to the chain and pedal backwards. Do this several times using clean sections of the rag. Now apply lube, sparingly, to the center of the chain while pedaling backwards. Hold a clean rag to the chain and pedal backwards to remove the excess. Always use a synthetic, bicycle-specific lube, such as T-9, or Finish Line Dry.

Check Your Points of Contact

Finally, inspect your saddle, handlebars and pedals for wear and tear. Worn grips or bar tape can be very uncomfortable. A worn out saddle can is even worse! Pedals need to provide adequate traction while riding. If they don’t, it’s time to replace them. Updating these items can really make the bike feel new again.

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