Check the List before your next ride

Monday, July 1, 2019

Check the List before your next ride

Have you ever shown up for a group ride and discovered you don’t have a helmet? How about you drove 4 hours to a beach front destination but your cycling shoes at still drying out back home in the living room. These and other “duh I forgot” items have happened to me over the years and I’ve heard enough stories to know I am not alone. After having done a few of these things enough times I finally decided to create a checklist much list a pilot used to double check everything before taking off in an airplane. It makes sense and makes most of your rides a lot better. Personally, I keep a copy of this near my garage door where the bikes are stored. I have another one taped inside the back of the car I use to take my bikes to group rides away from home.  This helps me make sure I have what I need. In addition, I keep a separate list in the garage of what should be in the under-seat bag on my bike. Finally, taped to the inside of the rear hatchback door of my car is a pre-ride check list. Just a few things to go over before starting that group ride to make sure it is fun and safe.  Here are my lists. Yours will likely be different based on your needs. I hope you find this a good starting point.


Pre-Flight CheckList!

Tell someone not on the ride where you will be and about how long.

Download the .gpx file if using a head unit and make sure it loads properly.


Cycling Check List


Heart Rate Monitor


Mini Pump

Cleat Covers

Cycling Shoes


Chamois Cream

Water bottles

Solid Nutrition


Mobile phone

ID Tag (Ride ID)

Insurance Card, Driver’s License, Credit Card


Loud Whistle on breakaway lanyard

Bright Red Rear Light

Bright White Front Light


Underseat Bag

Spare tube

Tube patches

Co2 cartridges



2 plastic tire tools

3 zip ties

Latex gloves

Clean wipe

Bee Sting Relief Packet

Insect repellant packet

Suntan lotion packet

2 screws for cleats

2 spare chain links

2 spare chain pins

3”x 1” tire boot

Folding Bike Tool


Pre-Ride Checklist

Make sure odometer/speedometer GPS is working. Reset if necessary.

Check Quick Release Levers: Positioned right? Are they tight?

Bounce the bike: Listen to rattles.

Check the brakes. Front and rear separately.

Spin the wheels: Make sure not rubbing on brakes and hubs don’t make a grinding sound.

Check the cranks: Make sure crank arms are tight and chainrings not missing any teeth.

Check the headset: Make sure it is tight.

Check tires: Ensure proper pressure. Clean without cuts, no glass or other items lodged in them.

Check handle bars: make sure they and stem are secure. Check for bends or cracks.


Take it Farther?

Consider keeping a bag or box with spares in your car all the time. I keep a spare helmet, shoes, socks, shorts, jersey, water bottles, tire, just in case. More often I loan things out than use them myself. Here’s a picture of Anne Hyman’s Bike Trunk in the back of her car.

Haze a great summer!


Ed Hazelwood

Potomac Pedalers ExCom

Member at Large

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