Councillor Brenda Johnson thought with spring upon us, you may be thinking about pulling your bike out of storage (or buying a new one) to commute. And why not, after all, the benefits of biking (as with any endurance activity) are many including improved physical fitness, weight reduction, decreased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, biking is great for the environment, easier on your wallet and you won’t get bogged down in traffic delays! It’s no wonder that biking is an easy commuting choice! However, before heading out on your first commute of the year using pedal power, keep these safety checks in mind:

1. AIR- Ensure your tires are inflated to the rated pressure as listed on the sidewall of the tire and be sure to use a pressure gauge to insure proper pressure. While you’re at it, check for damage to the tire tread and sidewall and replace if damaged.
2. BRAKES- Inspect pads for wear, replace if there is less than ¼” of pad left. Check pad adjustment to make sure they do not rub tire or dive into spokes. Check the brake level travel. It should be at least 1″ between bar and lever when applied.
3. CRANKS, CHAIN AND CASSETTE- Make sure that your crank bolts are tight but lube the threads only, nothing else. Check your chain for wear, 12 links should measure no more than 12 1/8 inches (30.8 cm). If your chain skips on your cassette, you might need a new one or just an adjustment.
4. QUICK RELEASES- Hubs need to be tight in the frame; your quick release should engage at 90°. Your hub quick release should point back to insure that nothing catches on it. Inspect brake quick releases to insure that they have been re-engaged.
5. CHECK IT OVER- Take a quick ride to check if derailleurs and brakes are working properly. Inspect the bike for loose or broken parts; tighten, replace or fix them. Pay extra attention to your bike during the first few miles of the ride and as always wear a helmet for safety!

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