Choosing a bicycle is important, but making sure that your ride is safe and well maintained is the most important consideration. Read on to hear three easy tips to help keep your ride working smoothly, safely, and comfortably.
First: Remember, if you want to ride quickly, you must be able to stop quickly. Applying a generous squeeze of the brake levers should do more than send out a high-pitched squeal and terrify pedestrians for a five-block radius. How are your brakes? Squeeze the levers and check that the brake pads actually contact the wheel rims. They should contact the rims securely at the same time. Any rubbing on tires or misaligned pads mean that your stopping will be severely compromised.
Second: Pump it up! Buying an inexpensive bike pump from your local shop is the way to go. Wheeling your ride to the local Shell station to use their air might sound glamorous, but it will get old quickly. Each tire will indicate its maximum pressure; using the pump's gauge, pump it near to that level and back off as needed. Your tires should be firm, but soft enough that small bumps in the road don't knock dental implants loose. Really.
Third: Make sure your wheels and fork are securely attached. Squeeze your front brake and gently rock the bike. If it feels like the fork is moving in the frame, it must be tightened. To check the wheels, try to move each one from side to side. If there is any looseness, undo the quick-release levers and tighten them securely. If you suspect that your bike needs attention, visit your local shop. You can get a check-up or tune-up for a reasonable fee, and the peace of mind it brings is invaluable. Happy riding!