It’s tempting to just grab your bike and go, however forgetting to do these things can quickly ruin your ride before you get in your first pedal stroke. Here are things I do every time before Ieaving home:
Know The Trail
Ensure the Trail is Open to Bikes
It may sound silly, but bikes are not allowed on all trails. And not all biking trails are open to e-bikes. Be sure the trail you’re headed to allows the bike you ride. If it doesn’t state no bikes, then you’re good.
E-bikes are another story. Many trails that are open to bikes may not be open to e-bikes. This is due to the possibility of e-bikes damaging the trail due to the torque put to the ground, spinning and digging up dirt much like a dirt bike or motorcycle.
Ensure Good Trail Conditions
Many trails are closed under bad riding conditions or during certain times of the year. If it’s recently rained or the ground is slow to dry, riding can cause damage to the trails such as ruts that can become a big problem over time. Please check that the trail is open and in proper riding condition.
Some trails have a website that display the trail status. If your trail doesn’t and you’re unsure, a recommended way to check is if your tires leave grooves in the surface, it’s probably too soft to ride. No doubt this will be a bummer because you’re ready to ride, but if riders were to hit the trail under those conditions it could compound quickly and destroy the trail.
Remember, trails don’t maintain themselves. Majority of the trails you enjoy are maintained by volunteers who love riding, too.
Check Your Bike
For your safety and those around you, be sure your bike is in good riding condition. I typically check the following three things before I toss my bike in the car.
You should have a general idea of the tire pressure your bike requires. Some bikes require higher tire pressure than others. For example, road and gravel bikes may need 50 psi or higher while a mountain bike may be alright with as low as 15 psi, if tubeless. It all depends on your particular setup.
If you don’t carry a mobile bike pump, you’ll want to check prior to leaving your home.
Wheels Are Tight
It would be terrible if a wheel fell off while riding so check that they’re torqued down properly. If your bike has a quick release wheel, be sure it’s clamped down tight. If you bike has a through-axle, take a quick moment to be sure they’re snug and torqued to spec. If you don’t have a torque wrench available, be sure they’re snug. Be careful as to not over tighten because that could potentially snap the bolt or cause damage.
Brakes Are Firm
This is typically the last thing I check. Since I have to drive to my closest trail, I hop on the bike and check the brakes before loading it in the car. Start by giving the brakes a little squeeze while rolling, prior to saddling. Then, get up a little speed and give the brakes a good squeeze. The brake lever should be firm and stop the bike quickly without any scary vibration, squealing or unwanted feedback.
Snacks Are Packed
You never know how long your ride may go or how long that last meal will last. It’s always a great idea to pack snacks to fuel up for an added boost of energy.
People fuel up differently. Some prefer mixing their water various nutritional powder. Others stash snack bars in their waste pack. Whatever you do, try not to pack foods that sit heavy in your stomach to prevent aches.
Don’t Forget Your Helmet
This may be the worst offense of all. You’re with your friends and ready to ride, but you left your helmet at home! If you’re lucky, you can run home quickly to grab it, but if not, your ride may be over before it began. What a bummer!
Enjoy the ride!