Ready to head out for a bike ride? What do you check before you head off?
I guess the answer has elements that largely depend on what sort of ride you are doing, for example a short local recovery ride would see different items in saddle bags/pockets than an endurance event but some aspects remain the same.
- M Check – if you have not heard of this then you can find more info over at British Cycling here but it is a quick check you should complete on your bike before riding to ensure everything is in good working order. It is called the M check as the order in which you check makes the shape of the letter M on the bike.
- Tyres – I always check that there is no flint from previous rides, tread is not worn, and inflate to the required PSI (pressure per square inch). Depending on the type of bike you are riding, tyre, weather/conditions and personal preference the PSI differs. The PSI will affect the grip on the road as you ride and the rolling resistance. If your tyre does not have enough PSI you will find the tyre doesn’t roll smoothly – the aim is obviously for good grip and resistance. On my road bike I use Continental GP 5000 tyres (that you can see here) and run my PSI at 110/120 in good weather and less if it is wet though as I say this is personal preference and you should find a range provided for advice when you purchase your tyre. Some people calculate depending on weight but I have never done that.
- Chain – I opt to use a chain from NRG, which I can highly recommend, and these are prepared and waxed so I have no need to add chain lube or check it before I ride. When I am due for further treatment NRG check for wear before they re-wax all chains and will feedback if it is worn out and avise next steps.
- Saddle Bag – I did a whole post on what I have in my saddle bag that you can read here but I always check pre ride that everything is in there. If you were unfortunate enough to experience the dreaded ‘p’ word on a previous ride you may need to replace an inner tube and gas canister.
- Nutrition – both food and drink and will differ depending on length of ride etc
- Tech – always make sure my Di2 is charged (I have found this the hard way when out on a ride and stuck in the wrong gear because I didn’t check!) and Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is charged and ready – I mean if it is not on Strava did it even happen?
- Helmet – not a legal requirement but I personally wouldn’t ride without one (more on that here) and so having that ready and fitted properly.
For endurance I would also add:
- Top tube bag – easy access for nutrition whilst riding. I use the Topeak Tri bag with cover that you can see here, and I like having the cover in case weather is bad but also not having to faff about with zips etc whilst riding.
- Spares – I would take more inner tubes, gas canisters, spare layers of clothing and lights also either in a bigger saddle bag or in jersey/jacket pockets.
- Nutrition – stands to reason you will want more for longer rides although if part of an event they may have stops with food
- Tech – my Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is set to beep every 20 minutes to remind me to drink and eat (stop the bonk!).
For commuting I would also add:
- Tyres – Further to the above, for my commute I use a gravel bike and on that I use Schwalbe G1 tyres and they run at a much lower PSI of 70.
- Lights – I commute early and it can be pretty dark so always one to bang on about being safe and seen, its safety after all! I make sure I have a front and back light, helmet light, arm band with light and fibre flare light as well. I also take cables so I can charge them back up at work ready for my return journey.
- Hi vis – again its all about being safe and seen so I have a bag cover and reflective clothing. ProViz have a huge range or items that are great.