How To… Check your bike before a ride

In this article, I spoke about riding in a group. At the beginning of the article I mentioned a key point that should be applied any time we go for a ride: Be prepared!

Here, I will expand on this concept and detail some of the checks I perform before going for a ride. I want to clarify that this method is not mine, it is taught both by the IAM and Roadcraft.


P.O.W.D.D.E.R.(Y.)

  • Petrol – it may sound obvious but you wouldn’t be the first one by the side of the road waiting for the AA or pushing the bike to the closest petrol station! Make sure you have enough petrol to get to your destination or that there are petrol stations on route.
  • Oil – when was the last time you checked your oil? It is not a hard task. Most modern bikes will have a small window that will allow you to check the oil level easily. Make sure you check this as indicated in the bike’s manual though, as there are different ways of doing it depending on the bike.
  • Damage – you don’t have to be involved in an accident to damage your bike. Sometimes damage happens due to a flying stone or debris on the road. Make sure your bike is in good shape by having a good look around.
  • Drive – whether your bike has a chain, belt or is shaft driven, check it in good condition. A belt and a shaft may not need much maintenance but make sure you inspect it, looking for possible damage or leaks; pay special attention to the seals. If your bike uses a chain, is it lubricated and properly adjusted?
  • Electrics – lights, indicators, action! Check that all the electrical bits are working. Indicators, main beam, brake light and even the warning lights on your dashboard.
  • Water – you have to keep hydrated while you ride, but your bike also needs water! Make sure you check the reservoir has enough water prior to each ride.
  • Rubber – always take precautions! Make sure the rubber on your bike, the tyres, are in good condition. The legal limit is 1mm deep thread but remember, if when you start riding the tyre is close to the limit, you may break the law during your ride which will compromise your safety. After all, the tyres are the only thing that keep your bike upright.
  • YOU! – Are you fit to ride? Are you tired, stressed, angry maybe? Make sure you are in good condition to ride and you keep all your senses focus.

Do you do these checks? Let’s us know how you make sure you bike is ready for every ride!

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