I find that most cyclists typically just grab their bikes and ride without any type of last minute look-over. I use to be like that until I made that fatal mistake and it almost cost me a serious crash; not anymore!!
A few weeks ago several cyclists went to ride the GAPS and all were excited as it had been over a year since the last time. I was part of that group and just mentioning GAPS gets my blood to flowing; I LOVE climbing. Everytime I ride, I check my bike from front to back but when I know I am headed to the GAPS, or any major climbing/descending, I meticulously check every little thing as this type of terrain will magnify any mechanical situation…usually for the worse.
My main focus is on the braking system & tire condition, as you could expect. I make sure my wheels are perfectly true and that my brake pads are in good enough shape for the descents as well as that they are perfectly spaced on each side of the braking surface of my wheels. Why is this so important? If your pads are spaced incorrectly too much and one pad hits the wheel before the other, you will experience a wabble that you will never forget…at 40+ mph. On the tires, if I see any type of cracks, cuts or any other imperfection, I will change them out and get a few hard rides in before the big trip.
Anyway, I took pictures of one of the riders at the top of our 2nd GAP (Neals) as we just happened to notice his tires during our rest. Nobody could believe what we saw!!! As you would guess, we all said we were not going to let him descend Neals on those tires. graciously, one of the workers at the general store there gave him a ride back and all ended well.
I wanted to post these as a visual reminder, not just for a GAPS trip, of how important it is to check your bike before you ride. My hope is that if you typically have not done this before, that you will start NOW!!!
See ya on the road…