Cycling Tips

Bike Checks for Safe Riding

Every day you ride your bike:

  1. Wear a helmet.
  2. Be sure your wheels are installed properly. Check quick-release hubs. Make sure they are tight and that tires spin freely without wobbling from side to side.
  3. Be sure both brakes work. Make sure brake pads are not badly worn and are aligned properly with rims.
  4. Make sure the tires are properly inflated. Proper inflation helps prevent flats, protects the rims and promotes efficient pedaling.
  5. Keep an eye/ear out for squeaks, clanks, rattles or creaks. Attend to problems promptly.
  6. Clean the bike after your ride, and lubricate the drive train. A clean, well-lubricated bike wears longer.

Once a week, or monthly:

  1. Check hub and bottom bracket adjustments. Be sure they turn smoothly, but are not loose. Check hubs by grasping rim and attempting to move wheel at right angles to the centerline of the bike. Check bottom bracket by grasping the crank arms where the pedals are attached and applying pressure at right angles to the centerline of the bike. There should be no "clunking" sensation in either case.
  2. Examine each tire.

    Be sure:

  3. There are no breaks in the sidewall.
  4. The sidewall is not dried out.
  5. The tread is in good condition.
  6. The tread is free of debris that might cause a flat.
  7. The rim is true. The rim should be within 1 to 2 mm of true. Spin the wheel and make a visual check using the front or rear brake pads as a guide. An out-of-true rim will wobble.
  8. The brake pads are adjusted so that they contact the rim properly.
  9. Teeth are not bent or worn, chain links are not bent, tight or worn and derailleurs are not excessively worn.
  10. Cables inside housing are lubricated. Use heavy-duty grease specifically designed for the job, never use household oil.
  11. All accessory attachment bolts are tight. Road vibration can loosen bolts in a hurry. Check brake caliper and lever bolts, handlebar and stem attachment bolts, seat bolts, pedals, racks, lights, computers and all other attachments subject to road or trail shock often.
  12. Headset is properly adjusted. While the front brake is on, rock the bike forward and backward. There should be no "clunking" sensation. If there is, adjust the headset before riding.
  13. Clean and inspect the frame. Look for cracks, bulges or dents.


  1. Perform a complete tune-up or overhaul.

For additional information about cycling safety, please call our Outdoor Hotline at 800-226-7552, any day between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. EST.

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