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  • Brake mechanism is tightly attached to the bike.
  • When released, the brake pads do not rub the rim or tire.
  • When applied, the pads contact only the rim,. and as much of the pad surface is used as possible.
  • When the brakes are tightly engaged, the brake lever should be only about halfway to the handlebars.
  • Cables are intact, not frayed at the ends.
  • Brake levers are in a convenient position and-fastened securely to the handlebars.

Wheels and Tires

  • Tires are inflated to the correct pressure (as marked on tire).
  • Tires have no bald spots, and are fitted properly to the rim.
  • All spokes are intact.
  • The wheels spin true, with as little wobble as possible. Wobbles should be fixed if they cause rubbing against the brake blocks or hamper smooth riding.
  • The hubs do not have play but run smoothly.
  • The wheel axle is secure in the frame dropouts, and in the right position.
  • The bearings are lubricated.


  • Handlebars are adjusted correctly.
  • Stem is secure; it does not rock when the front brake is on and forward pressure is applied.
  • Stem is not too high, especially when luggage weight is being suspended from handlebars.
  • Handlebars are taped (recommended).
  • Ends are plugged.


  • The frame is intact with no cracks, buckles or faulty lugs where two sections meet.
  • Headset is adjusted correctly; it does not have play,or offer resistance to turning forks.


  • At least 3 inches of the seat tube remains in the frame.
  • Saddle is level or pointed slightly up in front.
  • Seat is at the correct height and is secure.

Pedal and Bottom Bracket

  • Pedals are secure on cranks.
  • Cranks are secure on spindle (where the two cranks are attached going through the frame or hanger).
  • Bearings are lubricated.
  • Cones are adjusted correctly.
  • Spindle turns freely without play.
  • Toe clips (if any) are secure.


  • Chain is clean and lightly lubricated.
  • Gear changers work smoothly and do not slip.
  • Front derailleur is adjusted correctly, so that the chain is never off the sprockets.
  • Rear derailleur is adjusted to stop at the right places.
  • Derailleurs are clean, lightly lubricated, and secure on the frame.
  • Freewheel is lubricated.
  • For three speeds, hub is well oiled and gears are adjusted so that they all work.


During the normal- riding season bicycles should be thoroughly adjusted on a periodic basis so that they are functioning efficiently and safely. In addition, every morning before starting out on a day's ride bicyclists should run the following quick check to make sure all vital parts are functioning properly. The entire check can be done in 3-7 minutes. Here are the steps:

  • Clamp on the front brake and push the bike forward against the brake (don't let it roll) to check for play in the headset.
  • Clamp on the rear brake to make sure it grabs and holds the wheel from turning.
  • Grab the unloaded bicycle by the saddle and shake it vigorously to check for loose parts. Always investigate rattles and unusual noises.
  • Pick up the bicycle by the handlebars (make sure they are tight) so that the front wheel is off the ground. Check tire for hardness (using thumb) and check the wheel to see that it has no side-to-side play and spins freely.
  • Do the same thing for the rear wheel. Pick the bike up by the saddle or rear carrier and check to be sure the tire is pumped up properly. Check the wheel to make sure it spins freely and there is no play.
  • On three-speed bikes, check the gear shift lever in each position and see that each gear is working. (Push pedal forward. If everything is in proper adjustment, it will engage in each of the gear settings.) Be sure to backpedal before shifting from high to a lower gear.
  • Check the crank hangers for side and vertical play--there should be none.
  • Pack the bicycle carefully with all gear securely tied down and no loose straps or strings hanging.
  • Recheck front and rear wheels to see if they spin freely and that nothing is interfering with their movement.
  • Shake the bike from side to side to make sure all gear is securely mounted on the. bike.

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Next: Appendix c, tables and maps