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Your basic bicycle checklist.

Bicycle checklist

The bicycle must be clean, roadworthy and of a suitable size for the rider.

The following checks should also be undertaken at home prior to each cycle journey.


You may also want to watch:

• Check the rider’s toes can touch the ground,

on both side, when sitting on the saddle

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• When stood over the crossbar with feet flat

on the ground there should be at least 5cms

clearance, below the groin.

• Knees should not be able to touch the


• Check that the seat and handlebars are not

raised above their safe limits (there will be a

marking showing on the seat or handlebar

post if so).

Wheels & tyres

• Check that the wheels don’t wobble from side

to side.

• Spin each wheel in turn (it’s easier if you turn

the bike upside-down) and watch them as

they spin to see if they’re wonky, or if the

tyres bulge out in a certain place.

• Check if the tyres are worn or if there are any

cracks in them.

• Make sure the tyres are pumped up hard.


• Check that the handlebars turn smoothly,

without getting stuck.

• Check that the handlebars are in line with the

front wheel, and cannot be twisted out of


• Check handlebar end caps are fitted.


• Check that the right-hand brake lever works

the front brake. Roll the bike forward while

standing beside it, and pull the front brake.

The back wheel should lift off the ground.

• Check that the left-hand brake lever works

the back brake. Roll the bike backward while

standing beside it, and pull the back brake.

The front wheel should lift off the ground.

• Check that the brake pads (the rubber blocks

that grip the wheel) touch the metal rims of

the wheels and not the tyres.

• Check that the rider’s fingers can easily cover

the brake levers when sat on the bike.

• With the brakes pulled tight, check that two

fingers can fit between the levers and the

handlebars. If not then the brakes may need


• Check that the cables are not frayed.

It is a legal requirement to have two working

sets of brakes.


• Flick the pedals - they should spin freely.

• Hold a crank (the arms which hold the pedals)

and check that it doesn’t wobble from side to


Gears and chain

• Check that all gears change easily. It is

dangerous to have a bike that could jump out

of gear without warning.

• Make sure the chain is well oiled, and is not

so slack that it jumps when pedalled hard.


• The helmet must fit securely and snugly. When

adjusted correctly there should not be space

to put more than two fingers between chin

and the strap.


• Check that any bags are securely fixed and

don’t get in the way of wheels, legs, or any

lights. The bike must have a rear reflector- it is

a legal requirement by night along with a

front and rear light.

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