The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa


Do the ABC Quick Check Before You Ride Your Bike

By Mark Wyatt, Executive Director
Iowa Bicycle Coalition

Checking your bicycle before you ride is the most important step for a safe and enjoyable bike ride.  The Iowa Bicycle Coalition recommends you do an ABC Quick Check each time you ride.

A is for Air

Be sure your tires are inflated to the proper level.

The most accurate way to measure tire inflation is using a tire pump with a gauge.  Each tire has a inflation level stamped on the sidewall.  You can also use your fingers if you don’t have a pump available.  If you can make a dent in the tire by pinching the tire, you need to add air.

B is for Brakes

Functioning brakes will save your life.  Your brakes should be able to stop your bicycle before you are involved in a crash.  To test your brakes, squeeze the brake lever.  If the lever touches the handlebars it needs adjusted.  Sometimes, there is an adjuster barrel on the brake.  You can also visit your local bike store for service.

C is for Chain

Make sure your pedals turn freely and move the rear wheel.  If your chain or pedals are loose, be sure to have them serviced before riding.

Quick is for Quick Release.  Many bicycles are equipped with a quick release axel.  If not tightened, your wheel could fall out causing a certain crash.  Make sure the quick release is locked before riding.

Check is for everything else.  Make sure there are no loose parts or things that can get caught in the chain or spokes.

The ABC Quick Check is the first step to make sure your bike ride is safe and enjoyable.  Visit the Iowa Bicycle Coalition website for more information on bicycle safety.

The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is a state-wide bicycle advocacy organization with 1,150 members and over 5,000 partners through affiliate organizations throughout Iowa.  The Iowa Bicycle Coalition builds partnerships, educates Iowans, and helps to establish safe and enjoyable bicycle transportation and recreation networks throughout Iowa.


Kevin, May 2, 2010 at 7:12 pm

When checking the air in your tires it is also a good idea to make sure your wheels are secure. Check your quick-release levers to make sure they are clamped tightly. Next, lift your bike, make a fist and give the top of your wheels a quick, sharp strike with the fleshy part of your hand to make sure the wheels are securely in place.

michael keen, Jun 21, 2010 at 10:12 am

Thats a good Practice Kevin,Thanks I’ll use that fist idea

simon wu, Mar 12, 2011 at 6:29 am

Good ideas for enjoy riding. Will share with my friends. Thanks a lot.
Will try to ride crossing IOWA this year,since I am in China now.
I really like this event though just rode a part of route in 2006 when Jacob, Shown and I were riding across US from San Francisco to New York.

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