My pre-ride and post-ride inspection/maintenance routine
At the beginning of this month, I wrote an article discussing the reasons why I choose to do all of my own bike maintenance and repairs. In that same article I also talked about why regular maintenance is so important, both from a safety and performance standpoint. If you missed it, you can check out the blog here.
JSF member “iloco” commented on that article, and asked if I could talk a bit about my pre-ride and post-ride inspection and maintenance routines. I thought that was an excellent suggestion. Today I’d like to run through what I do before and after every single ride.
BEFORE EVERY RIDE
- Air front and rear tires to desired pressure
- Spin front and rear wheels, checking to make sure they are true and centered between the brake pads
- Check that front and rear QR skewers are tight and positioned correctly
- Check brakes for proper function
- Check for any excessive side-to-side play in wheels (Zipps have a bearing pre-load that sometimes requires adjustment)
- Straddle the bike, hit the front brake and check for any headset play by rocking the bike back and forth
That’s about it. All of that takes around 2 minutes, assuming nothing but the tire pressure needs adjusting. Of course these items presuppose that more comprehensive maintenance is also performed on a regular basis (for me, that’s weekly).
AFTER EVERY RIDE (assuming no rain)
- Check Di2 battery level, charge if needed
- Thoroughly wipe down chain and jockey wheels (I also lube the chain every 100 miles, and after any ride with rain)
- Inspect tires for damage or debris
- Wipe down frame with microfiber cloth and a quick detail spray
- Check rear flasher battery level, replace/recharge if needed
If I get caught in the rain or am riding on wet roads, I’ll do a more involved post-ride maintenance (often tearing the whole bike down). Bikes, like horses, can be ridden hard, but should never put away wet. 🙂
It only takes a few minutes to do these things, and it keeps my bike running its best.
One other quick tip. Even though I inspect my tires for damage after every ride, sometimes a slow leak can go undetected (those little steel wires shed from automobile tires are all over the place, and infamous for causing punctures and slow leaks). When I get up in the morning I always check my tires somewhere between my 1st and 2nd cup of coffee. There’s nothing worse than getting ready to roll out for ride and discovering that you have a flat tire. This is especially true if you’re meeting a group. Don’t be that guy (or gal) who makes the entire group wait because you didn’t take 5 seconds to check your tires!