Safety Check – Steering, Stopping and Security
The safety check is the most important part of OCBC's mechanical curriculum for adults and children alike, and you should know how to do it whether you take our classes or not. It is the list of things you can check quickly without tools that will reasonably ensure that any bike will steer predictably, and stop. With a few basic, portable tools, you can also make sure that parts won't fall off, and fix most of the things you might find wrong. You should check the most common and dangerous problems, in bold, every time you ride, and do all the steps if you're riding any bike for the first time, or after any work is done on your bike.
- Check that the stem and handlebars are tight: hold the front wheel between your knees and try to turn the handlebars (sideways and down) and brake levers, and check for loose bar ends, and grips or tape.
- Check the tires, especially the front: It should be inflated to near the pressure printed on the sidewall, and free of bulges, cracks, and bald spots.
- Check the front wheel: it should be mounted tightly in the fork, it should be round and true, and the spokes should be evenly tight.
- Squeeze the brake levers as hard as you can: they should not touch the handlebar. If they do, it may still stop well enough but you will need more care in adjusting, which is done with the barrel adjuster on the cable.
- The brake pads should touch the rim evenly all the way around, and not above it, where they may contact the tire. They should be thick enough.
- With each brake on in turn, push the bike forward and back and check for loose brake or steering parts. The pads should not be loose in the brake arms.
Security (of parts and equipment)
- 1 Grab the seat front and back; it should not twist or tilt.
- All other parts should be on tight; especially; pedals, cranks, rear wheel, kickstand, rack, baggage and accessories.
- Check helmet fit: it should sit level, with the junctions just below the ears, and very little slack under the chin. You should not be able to push it down on your nose or up off forehead. Secure shoe laces and the right pant leg.
Finally, make sure there is oil on your chain, and take a test ride to:
- Shift through all the gears (to carefully check derailer limits)
- Pedal hard in your favorite gears (to check for chain wear)
- Try riding no-hands (to check fork alignment)
Have anything you are not sure of looked at by a professional mechanic.
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