Proper preparation is essential to ensure that each bike ride provides the greatest amount of health benefits and personal satisfaction. Even the smallest misalignment discovered during a ride detracts from the overall quality of the experience. You will gain the most from your ride by concentrating on riding technique, assured that you can place complete confidence in the bike.
Bike tires are inflated to a relatively high pressure, and air seeps out very slowly. The internal pressure within both tires needs to be checked before each ride. Every tire has a recommended inflation pressure displayed in small letters on its side. Pressure is measured in pounds per square inch, and the designation is often abbreviated as psi. Over the span of several days, the average inflated tire will lose a measurable amount of air and need additional pressure.
A narrow bike tire with a recommended pressure of 90 psi will still feel quite firm with as little as 60 psi in pressure. Although the pressure may appear adequate from a visual perspective, the riding experience will suffer. A tire with inadequate pressure will cause a slight increase in rolling resistance, creating a sensation similar to peddling into a headwind. Both tires need to be inflated to the recommended psi before each ride. Check with an online bicycle shop for the best source for accurate pressure gauges and tire pumps.
Two other straightforward adjustments may be required occasionally. Brake pads come into tight contact with the wheel to provide effective braking. The force of the wheel can sometimes cause a brake pad to become slightly misaligned. The front or rear derailleur is less efficient if the chain is not in perfect alignment with each applicable cog. Both derailleurs contain an adjustment screw to adjust the shifter cable and align the chain and sprocket.
If you notice any unusual clicking or squealing sounds during a ride, make a written note of it at the completion of the ride. It’s easy to forget small noises, but the excessive clicking or squealing indicates the need for an adjustment. The best time to perform any necessary adjustment, if possible, is before the day of your ride. After checking the tire pressure on ride day, you are ready to go. Knowing that your bike is fully prepared allows you to focus entirely on enjoying the ride.