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


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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.

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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.

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