Bike Riding Checklist

A Bike Riding Checklist
by Lauren Baker, Bella Public Relations

Whether you hit the road or the trail, it’s important to bring some essentials with you beyond an extra tube or patch kit, water, and a snack.

Here are some ideas of things to add to your bike bag or pack. If other Bella’s have items to suggest, please let us know.

  • Identification: If you don’t want to bring the original, leave a photocopy of your driver’s license in your kit
  • Insurance: In the unlikely event of a medical emergency, make it easy to get coverage by keeping a copy of your insurance (medical and dental) with you
  • Emergency Contacts: While unlikely, should we need to make contact with your spouse or family, having a list of phone numbers can be easier than accessing them through your phone, if it is password protected
  • A Phone: Especially if you ride on your own, your phone may be the most powerful tool in your pack should you or another rider need help
  • Medications & Instructions: If you have life-threatening allergies or other medical conditions, carry everything you need with you, along with instructions for their use.
  • An Extra Layer: Central Oregon’s weather is so changeable, keep an extra layer in your pack at all times. Should you have to stop to fix a flat or help a fellow cyclist in chilly weather, your body temperature may plummet
  • A Whistle: While you’ll probably never need one, a whistle is lightweight, easy to pack, and could help you signal for help in an emergency
  • First Aid: A small package of bandages and a small roll of self-adhesive bandage (such as CoFlex) are really useful for patching up run-in’s with manzanita and/or lava rock


A False Sense of Security

A False Sense of Security
by Lauren Baker, Bella Public Relations

You just got your bike back from the shop, following a tune-up. You think you’re ready to hop on and go, feeling secure in your bike mechanic’s abilities. Is this a good practice? Not always.

Bike mechanics are only human, so it’s well worth testing your bike before you hit the road or trail. I make sure my brakes work before each and every ride. Stopping is important.

It’s also a good idea to check your air pressure before each ride. Air pressure that’s too low or too high can cause a blow-out. Ideal air pressure will vary with your tires and your personal preference. Becoming familiar with what’s ideal for you is a great idea.

I also like to do a quick check of my derailleur before heading out on a significant ride. A once-around-the-block ride lets me put my bike through its paces, making sure it shifts smoothly and consistently.

If I’m going to find a problem with my bike, I like to do so when I’m close to home — rather than miles down the road or trail. If a part feels loose or something doesn’t sound right, get it checked out — even if your bike is fresh from the shop. Mechanical problems can cause safety issues and/or leave you stranded.

A Bike Maintenance Checklist

A Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Yearly Bike Maintenance Checklist
By Dr. Edmund R. Burke, Ph. D. •

Most people who buy and ride bicycles want to keep them in good shape, but first they need to know where to begin.

The following list of necessary maintenance items and recommended frequency of maintenance is designed to give a recreational or club cyclist or a commuter an outline for a schedule.

Those who often ride in rain and mud, or who put on very high weekly mileage, will need to perform routine maintenance more often to keep their bikes in optimal condition. Conversely, those who ride relatively little can use a somewhat more relaxed schedule.

Before Every Ride:

  • Check tire air pressure
  • Check brakes and cables
  • Be sure your crank set is tight
  • Be sure quick release hubs are tight

After Every Ride:

  • Inspect tires for glass, gravel shards, and cuts on tread and sidewall
  • Check wheels for true
  • Clean the bike’s mechanical parts as necessary.
    • Once a week or every 200 miles: Lubricate chain with dry lube; or
    • every other week or 400 miles with wet chain lube.

Once a Month:

  • Completely clean the bike, including the drivetrain if necessary
  • Inspect chain and freewheel. Measure the chain for wear, check for tight links and replace the chain if necessary
  • Inspect and lubricate brake levers, derailleurs and all cables
  • Inspect pedals and lubricate SPD style cleats. Inspect tires for wear; rotate or replace if needed
  • Inspect and check for looseness in the:
    • Stem binder bolt
    • Handlebar binder bolt
    • Seat post binder bolt (or quick release)
    • Seat fixing bolt
    • Crank bolts
    • Chain ring bolts
    • Derailleur mounting bolts
    • Bottle cage bolts
    • Rack mounting bolts
    • Brake and derailleur cable anchors
    • Brake and shifter lever mounting bolts
    • Brake mounting bolts

Every Three Months:

  • Inspect frame and fork for paint cracks or bulges that may indicate frame or part damage; pay particular attention to all frame joints.
  • Visually inspect for bent components: seat rails, seat post, stem, handlebars, chain rings, crank arms, brake calipers and brake levers.

Every Six Months:

  • Inspect and readjust bearings in headset, hubs, pedals and bottom bracket (if possible; some sealed cartridge bearings cannot be adjusted, only replaced).


  • Disassemble and overhaul; replace all bearings (if possible); and remove and if necessary replace all brake and shift cables. This should be performed at 6,000 miles if you ride more than that per year. If you often ride in the rain or mountain bikers who get dirty should overhaul their bicycles more often.

Mountain Bike Tips by Lindsey Voreis

Girl Power

      8 Spring moves for top mountain bike performance 


Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the Girl Bike Love website.

Lindsey Voreis | Photo by Forrest Arakawa


     Spring is in the air. Time to dust off those mountain bikes and prepare for a shred-happy summer. But first let’s make sure your body is strong and ready to slay single-track like the warrior princess that you are. As the trails dry out we can’t just jump on and go without some proper prep. Even spin class and road rides don’t totally prepare you for wild, dirty fun. Some bike enthusiasts may live in a place where the sun shines year-round, but for those of us who live near snow-covered hills, our bikes sit in the stable and hibernate for much of the winter. So if you have taken time off the mountain bike, care for your body so you can be strong like ox when the trails beckon.

If you don’t crash often, mountain biking is a fairly low-impact sport. Low-impact is good, but it’s smart to mix in some cross-training moves that pound the bones a bit to help keep them strong. Here are a few tips to ease you back into mountain bike season with a strong body, mind and spirit.

Lower body

  1. Box Jumps: Use a box at the gym, a park bench at the playground while your kids play or use the lowest bleacher at a school. Whatever you can find, jump everybody! Jump! Jump! With feet hip-width apart jump on and off and land lightly in a squat position. Do three sets for one minute each. Strengthens quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes which creates power for strong climbing and stable descending.
  2. Run (creatively!): Personally, I don’t love running. It just hurts sometimes but in small doses it can be oh-so-good. You don’t have to run often and you don’t need to run on pavement. Get creative and run trails, run up and down bleachers or run stairs. Do run/walk intervals or get that cardio up with some longer runs if you can handle it. In reality, a few short (35 min) creative runs per week should keep your bones solid and ready to rock.
  3. Jump Rope: Want happy bones? Who doesn’t! Jumping rope is something you can do anywhere and it’s great for your bones. Not much more to say about that. Get a rope and start jumping. Do 10 one-minute intervals. Push yourself, I promise you’ll feel great when you’re done.

Upper body

     Don’t forget your upper body. Mountain biking is not just legs. Many people don’t realize how much upper body is used in mountain biking. Especially in technical terrain, the upper body needs to be strong, fluid and ready to react.

  1. Push-ups: I know push-ups are hard. I tend to give up before my sets are done when my wimpy side takes over. However, push-ups are a great way to strengthen the shoulders, arms, back and core without needing a gym or weights. Do it! Start slowly and gradually work up the numbers. Try three sets at one minute each. If you get stuck, hold plank position, but suck in that gut, tighten the butt and keep the back flat.
  2. Medicine ball toss: Tossing a medicine ball with someone is a good way to strengthen the shoulders, back and your reaction time. Find a partner and a heavy ball. Bring the ball into your chest and toss straight ahead without hyper-extending the arms. We do a lot of pushing down and pulling up on the bike so this is a great way to prepare to put that front wheel where you want it to go!
  3. Yoga: Yoga is a great core workout. It’s wonderful for mind relaxation and helps you practice staying in the moment. I’m a bit of a spaz, so relaxing without racing thoughts and a fidgety body is difficult for me. When I’m on my bike I feel Zen and in the moment, otherwise, I have trouble slowing my thoughts. I use Yoga to balance the body and mind. It’s good stuff.Like I always say in my clinics: “Don’t allow thoughts that sabotage you, only thoughts that serve you.” And don’t forget to breeeeeathe.
  4. Abs: Strengthen those abs so you don’t use the handlebars to hold you up! Our core should be what holds us up so our arms can move freely with the bike and the ever changing terrain. Crunches, old school sit-ups, plank, and boat pose (on your back with arms at your side lift legs, chest and arms, suck in gut and hold) are great ways to strengthen that core.
  5. Take a lesson: (From me of course! *wink*) Taking a lesson is a great way to understand fundamentals that you my never have heard before. I find that beginners as well as people who have been riding and racing for 25 years always learn something new to apply to a better, more efficient, safer and stronger mountain bike experience.

We all want to ride for life so take good care of your body and let the bike take good care of your soul.

Lindsey Voreis is a certified mountain bike instructor who teaches skills clinics around the globe, and runs Ladies AllRide.


Trail Etiquette for MTN Bikers

Descending Riders Stop For Others

  • We all love the downhill, but skidding out of control is not cool. Expect some uphill riders and be ready to move to one side of the trail, stopping until your line is clear.

Tread On Trail

  • Thanks for yielding to other riders – but remember that riding off into the bushes widens and damages trails. Instead, put a foot down and feel good knowing that tread on the trail keeps singletrack narrow and fun.

Look, Listen, Smile

  • As trail users, we rely on one another. Have fun, and keep your eyes and ears open. Smile and say hello! You are in one of the best mountain bike areas in the nation.

Bike Riding: Group Safety

(adapted from

Be Predictable

  • In a group, your actions affect those around you, not just yourself
  • Riders expect you to continue straight and at a constant speed
  • Signal your intention to turn or slow down before you do so

Use Signals

  • Use hand signals to indicate turns and point out hazards to others
  • Left or right arm straight out to indicate left or right turn
  • Left arm out and down with palm to the rear

Give Warnings

  • Ride leaders should call out turns and stops in addition to signaling
  • Announce turns before the intersections to give riders a chance to position themselves
  • Try to avoid sudden stops or turns except for emergencies

Change Positions Correctly

  • Slower moving traffic stays to the right; faster traffic to the left
  • Pass slower moving vehicles on the left; announce your intention to do so
  • Announce passes on the right clearly as this is not a usual maneuver

Announce Hazards

  • Most cyclists in a group do not have a full view of the road.
  • Announce / point out glass, gravel & potholes and other hazards

Watch for Traffic from the Rear

  • The last rider should frequently check for overtaking cars
  • Announce “car back” clearly and loudly
  • It is also helpful to announce “car up” on narrow / winding roads.

Watch Out at Intersections

  • Leaders should announce slowing or stopping at intersections if necessary
  • Cyclists should not follow others through intersections without scanning
  • Each cyclist is responsible for checking cross traffic; if you must stop, signal
  • Never regroup at an intersection – either before or after – depending upon safety.

Leave Room for Cars / Share the Road

  • On narrow, winding roads avoid a long string of riders, which drivers can’t pass (Drivers can pass 2- 4 riders easily, not a large group)
  • Good relations with motorists is the responsibility of every cyclist (a ‘Thank you’ waive for courtesy is great PR!)

Stop Off the Road

  • When stopping for mechanicals or regrouping, always move off the road
  • Only if conditions permit should you move back onto the road as a group

Ride to the Right - Always!

  • It is illegal to ride more than two abreast (practice being close and comfortable)
  • Never approach the center line — even on quiet, country roads. (An oncoming vehicle will perceive riders in the middle of the road as dangerous or arrogant.)

Communication, Vigilance, Teamwork and Mutual Respect are Crucial for Safe Cycling!

Bellas in the Bulletin

Bend Bellas Cycling Group

Local bike organization for women gaining in popularity

By Beau Eastes / The Bulletin / @beastes

Published Mar 17, 2014 at 12:01AM

Sheri Fayal’s “aha moment” came on the Whoops Trail, but it was far from an accident.

An occasional mountain bike rider who would “tag along” on rides with her husband when they moved to Bend three years ago, Fayal had never dared going down the notoriously fast and flowing trail in the Phil’s Trail complex west of town. But then she joined the Bend Bellas, a local women’s cycling group.

“Whoops was always so intimidating,” says Fayal, 47, who began biking with the Bellas last spring. “My husband eventually went down Whoops with a GoPro (hands-free video recorder). … I watched the video and thought, ‘I can do that.’

“Several of us (Bella riders) had never done Whoops before, but we mustered up the courage and did it,” Fayal adds.

“We were screaming ‘Woo-hoo!’ — taking the turns and jumps and using all these different skills on this rolling terrain. That was my aha moment of, ‘OK, I can do this.’ ”

Helping develop “woo-hoo!” experiences since 2004, the Bend Bellas host their annual kickoff meeting April 10 at Pine Mountain Sports. The organization, created, to enhance women’s cycling experiences, road and mountain, has grown from about a dozen members its first year to more than 100 who paid the $25 yearly dues in 2013.

“Women ride differently than men,” says Lynne Herbert, 45, who has been a Bella member on and off for the past five years. “Women are a little more chattier with each other and there’s a little less competition out there and the riding is lighter in terms of intensity. And some women are intimidated riding with men. They’re worried they’re not good enough or they’re not a gear head.

“Basically,” Herbert adds, “being with other women, it feels safer to (mess) up.”

All riding abilities are welcome, Bella president Barb Smith says, and riders are never left behind during a ride. Ever.

“Initially, it’s a physically and mentally comfortable place for women to come to,” says Smith, a 64-year-old retired physical education teacher from Northern California. “I can’t emphasize enough, (the Bellas) is a place for riders with similar abilities. … We never drop anybody. Someone can show up for a ride and their ability might not be what the group needs, but they’ll never be dropped. We’ve all been in that position where we felt like the weakest in line. You don’t forget how that feels.”

Leaders often break down basic techniques during beginner rides, Fayal says, pointing out things like how best to take a banked corner or handle a fast downhill section of trail.

“It’s just so awesome to see each other supporting one another and clapping,” she adds. “It’s empowering to meet those challenges and it’s great fun to be part of a group.”

With participation numbers exploding, Bella riders have numerous options of when to ride, where to ride, and whom to ride with. The 9-to-5 crowd typically organizes evening and weekend treks, while the retired set and cyclists with a less conventional work schedule hit the trails just about any time the weather permits. Ride descriptions are always fairly detailed, including distance, length of time, and a suggested ability level.

“It’s just a great group of ladies that really want to support one another,” says Fayal, who in one riding season went from novice to ride leader after building confidence and riding skills with the Bellas. “There’s ladies 15 to 20 years older than me that kicked my butt, and it was fantastic. They help us newbies out.”

The Bellas tackle cycling adventures all over Central Oregon, everything from beginner mountain bike rides to Tumalo Falls, road rides up to Mount Bachelor, and scenic — but challenging — routes around Waldo and Suttle lakes. The group is essentially a social club with cycling problem, as members often get together in the offseason for things like yoga, wine tasting and holiday parties.

“We enjoy each other’s company and we like being around one another,” Smith says. “Some of my best friends are through the Bellas.”

—Reporter: [email protected]


Think! Cycling

The number of cyclists seriously injured has increased in recent years, faster than the increase in cyclists out on the roads.

The facts

  • The number of cyclists killed increased by 10% from 107 in 2011 to 118 in 2012
  • The number of cyclists reported to have been seriously injured increased by 4% from 3,085 in 2011 to 3,222 in 2012Pedal cyclist traffic levels are estimated to have risen by 1.2% over the same period.
  • Most (92%) of these accidents involve another vehicle.

THINK! safety tips for drivers and cyclists

The campaign consists of a series of tips, developed to educate and remind drivers and cyclists about the correct way to drive and ride, and reduce the number of collisions on the road.

  • Drivers look out for cyclists at junctions.  Drivers look out for cyclists when getting out of the car.
  • Motorists leave room for cyclists.
  • Cyclists ride central on narrow roads.  Cyclists ride a door’s width from parked cars.
  • Cyclists always stop at red lights.

THINK! advice for when you’re driving

  • Look out for cyclists, especially when turning – make eye contact if possible so they know you’ve seen them.
  • Use your indicators – signal your intentions so that cyclists can react.
  • Give cyclists plenty of space when over-taking them, leaving as much room as you would give a car.  If there isn’t sufficient space to pass, hold back.  Remember that cyclists may need to maneuver suddenly if the road is poor, it’s windy or if a car door is opened.
  • Always check for cyclists when you open your car door.
  • Advanced stop lines allow cyclists to get to the front and increase their visibility.  You must stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and allow cyclists time and space to move off then the green signal shows.
  • Follow the Highway Code including ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights.

THINK! advice for when you’re cycling

  • Ride positively, decisively and well clear of the curb — look and signal to show drivers what you plan to do and make eye contact where possible so you know drivers have seen you.
  • Avoid riding up the inside of large vehicles, like lorries or buses, where you might not be seen.
  • Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor.
  • Wearing light colored or reflective clothing during the day and reflective clothing and/or accessories in the dark increases your visibility.
  • THINK! recommends wearing a correctly fitted cycle helmet, which is securely fastened and conforms to current regulations.

A few things every female cyclists should know

Last weekend’s doubleheader race at Alpenrose was off the charts. Maybe it was the sunshine or the incredibly fun course design, maybe it was the good company, maybe it was the smile on my face as I pedaled to the start line, or the lack of stress and pressure I put on myself. Whatever it was, I had fun – and I am going to keep on having fun.

Cyclocross is the most fun on two wheels – I am quickly remembering why!

Oh, but on to the real purpose of this blog post – A few things every female cyclist should know.

I believe there are a few bits of important information that should be included with the purchase of every pair of cycling shorts and shared with every woman who makes the decision to ride her bike. Information that should be shared but isn’t, for risk of embarrassment or ridicule, or simply because the “right question” isn’t even known.

If just one person finds a bit of usefulness out of the following, I will deem it a


  • No need to wear undies with your chamois. Cycling shorts are designed to be worn directly against your skin with the mission of keeping you comfy and chafe free. Don’t mess things up putting a layer of abrasive cloth between you and your carefully engineered chamois.
  • And speaking of staying chafe free… Chamois Cream, Butt Butter, Cham Jam – whatever you want to call it, use it, every time you ride your bike. My preferred method of application is to apply a generous amount directly to my crotch region / sensitive parts, but you can also lather the chamois directly, before putting on your shorts. Either way is effective; figure out what works for you.
  • Take off your chamois as soon as you are done with your ride, race, or cool down. Do not walk around in your shorts because you think you’ll look cool. The best thing you can do is to air yourself out; pull on breathable fabric underwear and loose fitting pants or a dress.
  • Do not put these shorts back on until they have been washed! This is not optional. Do not wear dirty cycling shorts. If you have worn them, they are dirty.