Road Bike Maintenance

Beginners: ABC pre-ride checklist

We’re all guilty of jumping on our bikes, setting off in to the great outdoors, before checking whether our steed is actually road worthy.

Give your bike some love. A good once over before every ride will not only make each journey better, but also make your components last longer!

A quick two-minute once over of your bike pre-ride can protect you from no end of mischief, a miserable ride ending break down or even a serious tumble.

At the very least, before every ride, yes that’s right, EVERY ride, we recommend you run through these simple pre-ride checks.

It really is as easy as abc!


It’s always best to realise your tyres are soft before you’re 5 miles into your ride, you’d be surprised at how much harder you’re making it for yourself by not having enough air in your tyres.

Not only do soft tyres make you sweat, it can also cause a pinch puncture as the inner tube gets caught in the rim as you hit bumps and cracks in the road.

Squeeze both tyres, they should feel very firm. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to check, by using a floor pump with a built-in gauge.  Check the side of your tyre to find the PSI details, then attach the pump and inflate to the required pressure.

Check the side wall of your tyre to see how much pressure is needed in your tyre.
On some tyres it’s quite difficult to find the PSI information, keep hunting and you will find them.

While you’re there, it’s worthwhile casting an eye over the tyres themselves, checking whether there are any small holes, cracks, or pieces of road debris embedded in the rubber. If left, they could potentially work their way through the tyre, pierce the inner tube and cause a flat.


No one wants to hurtle down an epic descent, only to realise that you forgot to close your brake’s quick release mechanism after changing that flat tyre, so the first stop is to make sure they’re secured.

This is not what you want to see when riding your bike! The quick release mechanism allowing your to remove your wheel easily is raised, meaning your brake will not engage properly and won’t stop you in a hurry.
This is what it should look like, the quick release mechanism on the left, is in its closed downward position.

If you try spinning your wheels and the brake pads rub, it’s best to get your bike seen to by a professional as soon as possible, because if you’re not confident you shouldn’t mess with them on your own.

No rubbing? Visually inspect your brake pads; there should be a wear indicator line to let you know if your pads have seen better days. If you can’t see it, then it’s time to call in and visit your friendly mechanic to replace them.

Brakes are vital to a safe ride; don’t scrimp on looking after them. If in doubt, get them checked out.


The lube that makes your chain run smoothly, also acts as a magnet for all manner of dust and debris from the road and trails, I’ve even been known to find hair wound round mine! When was the last time you tended to your chain, giving it a good old clean and lube?

A dry, dirty chain in need of both a clean and a lube.
A clean chain, well lubed, but all ready you can see the build up of debris, so make sure you clean it every couple of weeks

Take a little time every couple of weeks to clean your chain, removing any unwanted grit that is responsible for wearing both your chain and teeth on your chain rings and cassette. After cleaning, pop on some lube, as metal on metal needs a little something on it to make it run smoothly!

If you’re yet to purchase specific bike lube, reach for that can of trusty WD-40 and give your chain a quick spray. I’ll probably get hung, drawn and quartered by mechanics for suggesting it, but it’s better than nothing. It won’t hurt your drive train, it is a lubricant and most of us have a can lying around the house!

Now you know your abc of pre-ride checks, you’re ready to hop in the saddle and crank out some miles!


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