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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pre-Ride bike check, why you should do it.




A few weeks ago I went on a critical mass ride that took me up and down some hills. Well more up than down or maybe I can only remember the pain of going up...whatever.

Anyhoo, I was riding along and compared to the week before I felt that I was sluggish. As much as the bike had felt very peppy the last time I took it out, this time I was under the impression that I was not getting as much out of it.

My first reaction was that my body had gone south after a week back to work riding a desk. I was just not getting everything I expected out of my legs. Then I got a revelation that my legs had nothing to do with it. I was heading down Berri hill, which is legendary around here because it is steep and long, and I could barely hit 45 km/h coasting down! The week before I had to hold back the bike because I was afraid to pass the 55 km/h mark on this freshly assembled Frankenstein bolt on monster and 55 km/h it did easily.

I was thinking that tire pressure could be the culprit but it couldn't be that bad after only one week of being parked. So I waited until I got back home, hours and many kilometers later, to check everything out.

Turns out I was right and then some. Tire pressure had gone down by 10 pounds over the course of one week. The problem was that I had filled them during a heat wave and the temperature had gone down steeply since, affecting tire pressure seriously. While I was at it I decided to check if the wheels were turning freely.

I spun the front wheel and it came to an abrupt halt at the end of its course. Not good. Did the same thing with the rear wheel and wouldn't you know it, it stopped dead as well. Turns out I was running on low pressure tires and rim rubbing brake pads. No wonder the ride felt like crap! I guess I did some work on the wheels and forgot to check brake pad clearance.

So the lesson here is check your tire pressure on a regular basis and make sure your wheels are turning freely. The few minutes you take doing this before a big ride will save you a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering down the road...or is it up.


Don't forget to check out the how-to articles post
and download my free bike maintenance book if you haven't already.

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

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