Making sure your bike is ready for your big event is an essential part of the process. Don’t leave checking your bike’s condition for the night before the race. You don’t want to be running all over town the morning of an event looking for an open bike shop that can replace parts. Run a quick check a week before the event so your local bike shop can get any repairs done.
Take a quick ride around the block and run this checklist:
- Shift through the gears to make sure they shift smoothly and without trouble.
- Test the brakes to make sure they feel right and that the braking action is smooth.
- Lift the front end and spin your front wheel. Lift the back end and give the rear wheel a spin. Does either wheel wobble while spinning? If so, the bike shop will need to true you wheels for you – this is adjusting the spokes to remove the wobble.
- Is anything creaking, making noise or wobbling? Make a note of the symptoms and head for the shop.
- Check your tire pressure one more time.
- Inspect your tires for anything that could cause a flat: embedded glass, thorns, cracked sidewalls, cuts or worn patches on the tire.
- Have you lubed you chain lately? Once your bike checks out you can concentrate on packing your bag, filling your bottles, and loading the car. Make a checklist of all the items you need to bring along and double-check it before leaving the next day. You don’t want to leave your shoes or helmet or cycling shorts behind (but we’ll admit we’ve done it before too). Most important, don’t forget to pack your can-do attitude and sense of humor.
What to Bring on Race Day
- Cycling gloves (optional)
- Cycling shorts
- Cycling shoes
- Water bottles, filled
- Energy bars, gels
- Cycling computer (optional)
- Heart rate monitor (optional)