Safe Cycling: Checking Your Bicycle Is Roadworthy

Tyres

While you are checking the wheels, it’s an ideal time to ensure that the tyres are sufficiently inflated. Using your thumb and forefinger, squeeze the sidewalls of the tyre together. If the tyre is well inflated, you should not be able to squeeze very much. If the tyre feels soft, you will need to check the tyre pressures and inflate as necessary.

If your bike is older, or has not been used for some time, check the sidewalls of the tyre for small cracks in the rubber. This indicates that the rubber has perished and the tyre will need to be replaced.

Handlebars

Now that you’ve checked the wheels, stand in front of your bike, facing the handlebars with the front wheel between your legs. Clamp the front wheel with your legs and you should be able to see whether the handlebars are straight and tight.

Seat position

Lastly, check that the height of the seat is correct. When sitting on the seat, you should be able to touch the ground with your toes.

Lights

Having a bike that you know to be roadworthy will add to your confidence, especially if you have not ridden for some time. These are only very basic checks and you should also ensure you use lights if you will be cycling in darkness or in fading light. In some countries, all bicycles are also required to have reflective surfaces. These must usually be visible from the front and rear.

Check whether yours meets the requirements to be used where you live. In all cases, good cycle stores should be able to advise and if you are at all in doubt, ask before you ride.

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