4. Get your bike in good working order

Unless you’re a mechanic, we highly recommend that you get your bike serviced at a reputable local bike shop before the ride. Some problems are hard to spot until you take the bike apart.

With bikes, it really pays to go local. We do NOT recommend big chains like Halfords.

If you do service your bike before the trip, then make sure you go on a few rides before leaving in case any further adjustments are needed. Cables usually stretch out a bit over the first hundred kms, which can lead to annoying gear skipping.

As a rough guide these are the things you should be checking for to see if your bike is running ok or if it needs work

  • Are the gears shifting well in both directions, without much resistance?
  • Does the chain fall off when changing gear?
  • Do the wheels spin freely? Are they ‘true’ and not out of shape?
    • They should spin without noise from the hub and the rim should not wobble more than a couple of mm either way as it spins
  • Are there any dodgy noises when you pedal (creaking, squeaking, clicking)?
  • Are the tyres worn out?
  • Do your brakes work well and stop you in the wet and dry?
  • Are your brake pads close to being worn out?
    • There is a guide line on most pads to check against
  • Do your handlebars turn freely?
  • Has your chain stretched too much?
    • Put the chain onto your biggest chain ring. Now imagine the chain ring is a clock and pull the chain away from the ring at the 3 o’clock position. If it comes away enough to get your pinkie between the chain and chain ring, then it needs replacing. (If you have a massive pinkie, pretend that you don’t and imagine your hand with normal size fingers.)
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