This Week’s Challenge: Ride your bike.
Feeling a little cooped up? Us, too! So, this week Female IQ challenges you to dust off that bike and take it for a spin.
If it has been awhile, Laura (Female IQ’s resident bike guru) recommends before you head out, give your bike a safety inspection. Here’s how:
- Open and close the quick-release levers on your wheels to confirm that they’re tight.
- Move each wheel side to side to check for looseness.
- Give each wheel a spin to see that it doesn’t wobble and that the rim doesn’t contact the brake pads at any point.
- Check the air pressure of your tires with a pressure gauge and compare it with the recommended pressure listed on the sidewall. Under-inflated tires will drastically increase the rolling resistance, increasing the amount of energy needed to pedal the bicycle. If you’ve inflated them properly, they’ll do a better job of absorbing any impact and protecting the wheel from damage.
- Visually inspect the tires, looking for any cracks, cuts or tears.
- Give the brake levers a strong squeeze to ensure that the brakes firmly grip the wheels. You shouldn’t have to pull the levers more than halfway to the handlebars.
- Confirm that the brakes grip the rim and that they have sufficient rubber.
- Straddle the front wheel, pinching it between your thighs, grip the handlebars, and try to twist them side to side. Try the same procedure but, this time, straddling the frame and squeezing the brakes; try to rock the bicycle back and forth.
- Grab a crank arm in each hand and try to shake them for looseness. If there is some play in the bottom bracket, it should be overhauled. If it’s very loose, it could be dangerous to ride.
- Confirm that the pedals spin freely, but that you can’t pull them away from the cranks.
- Improve your visibility. There’s nothing more important than being safe while you ride and improving your visibility can go a long way toward that goal. Wear brightly colored clothing. Pinks, yellows and reds are very visible. Green can get lost in the vegetation. Black cannot be seen.
- Stock emergency gear. You should always be prepared for the worst — you should have an extra tube and CO2 cartridge, a cell phone, a baggie for it in case it rains, extra snacks, a $20 bill and, if you have a road ID bracelet, wear it.
Sending U Good “Q”— Laura and Becca