Check Your Bike Before You Wreck Your Bike

Earlier this month, I went to the basement of my apartment building to dust off my bike and hop on after a long winter. Helmet on, I excitedly pedaled down the street.

Not paying attention, I turned the wrong way down a one-way street. Fortunately, there were no cars coming, as they were stopped at the red light a block away. Nonetheless, I decided to slow down and pull aside to change directions. The light down the street turned green as I squeezed the brake levers. My bike didn't slow down or stop. 

I squeezed again, still nothing. Confused and a little scared, I rode between two parked cars to figure out why my brakes weren't working.

Turns out I didn't have any!

Sometime between November and May, someone removed my front brake pads and loosened by rear pads. Really people? Who does that? As if riding in NYC isn't scary enough! Anyhow, had I checked my bike before I left, I would have noticed sooner. Thank God I noticed before making it too far from my apartment.

So, what could and should I have done before taking my bike for a ride? Turns out, it's as simple as ABC.

The ABC Quick Check was developed by The League of American Bicyclists as a way for cyclists to ensure their bikes are ready and safe for use. A stands for Air, B is for Brakes, and C is cranks, chains, and cassette.

Air

Check the air pressure of your tires. Also examine them for holes and the like.

Brakes

Ensure your brakes are functioning properly (and still there!)

Cranks, chains, and cassette

Make sure these three are clean and your chain is taut.

I'll certainly make sure to go through the ABCs before every ride, from now on.

For more details, check out The League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling Tips.

Happy riding!