Safe Cycling: Checking Your Bicycle Is Roadworthy


As cycling becomes more popular again as a means of everyday transport, more and more adults are taking to the road on two wheels even though they may not have ridden a bike since their childhood. While many will be buying new bicycles, just as many will look for a second hand bicycle or will simply blow the cobwebs off of an old one in the garage. So how do you know that your bike is roadworthy?

Any new bike bought from a reputable store should be roadworthy from the moment you pick it up, but there are some basic checks you can do on any bike, new or old, to satisfy yourself that it’s ready for the road.


First and foremost you should check the brakes are in working order. Cycling can be a dangerous proposition if the rider is not in a position to stop safely and quickly when they need to. Look to see whether the brake blocks or pads have been worn down and need to be replaced. If you are using an older bicycle, it’s worth also checking whether the blocks have perished through age as many are made of rubber which only has a finite lifespan.

Lift the front of the bike up and spin the wheel. While the wheel is spinning, pull the front brake lever. The wheel should stop instantly. If it doesn’t, you may need to adjust the brakes or replace the blocks. Do the same test with the back wheel.


As you spun the wheels, you should have been able to notice whether each wheel was still running true. If the wheel is badly buckled it will rub intermittently against the brake blocks or any mudguard fitted. A normal spoked wheel which is showing signs of being buckled can generally be made true again at any good cycle repair shop.

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