Whether you ride year-round or ride seasonally, there are several options to prepping your bike for riding. From decades of riding, I suggest finding a professional and reputable shop that can offer minor adjustments to overhauling. Most shops will let you know what needs attention. The do-it-yourself (DIY) method is helpful, so that cyclists can learn more about her/his bicycle and potentially identify issues more easily. Mechanical advice varies depending on your riding style and riding terrain and conditions.

Below is a basic pre-ride checklist. See URLs for more details.

FRAME: Starting with a clean bike, look for paint chips, cracks, and dents.  If you detect cracks or dents, take your bike to your chosen bike shop.

WHEELS & TIRES: Determine ideal pressure for you – it depends on your weight, tire size, riding conditions, etc. Inflate tires to inspect for cuts, cracks, and punctures. Additionally, check the tire wear markers. Replace if needed. Test wheels for trueness and for loose or bent spokes. Finally, check that the hubs spin smoothly without any play side to side.

BRAKES: Remove tires to inspect brake pads for wear and debris. Look at and lube cables for smooth operation. Check that the pads contact the rims and not the tires.

DRIVE TRAIN: Clean and lube the chain, front and rear derailleurs, and gears and cables. Looking at a clean chain, look for uneven wear. Chain replacement will depend on how often it and the gears are cleaned along with riding conditions. Adjust derailleurs and cable tension if necessary after running through the gears.

CONTACT POINTS: Make sure the seat post and saddle hardware is tight. Also, inspect handlebars, stem, and well as brake and shift levers. Check all other nuts and bolts for tightness. If you drop the bike 3-4 inches from the ground, listen for loose or rattling items.

PEDALS & SHOES: Pedals need to spin freely. Clipless pedals require that cleats are tight and not worn. If you are fitted to your bike, make sure to have the cleat adjusted, too.

INTERMITTENT MAINTENANCE: Airing up tires each ride prolongs life and reduces the chance of flats. Cleaning and lubing the chain and gears can ensure smooth shifting and longevity of parts.

MAINTENANCE CHART: You can create a simple table or use an app such as Strava to keep track of maintenance. Make sure to include consumables as tires and tubes.

For a more detailed explanation of seasonal maintenance, see: