The M Check: The Bicycle Safety Check
The 2-minute check to do before every ride
The M Check is a quick check-up that will take you less than two minutes to do and will help to make sure you enjoy your ride.
The M Check Method
1. Front Wheel
Check the quick release is tightly secured pointing up towards the handlebar stem (or as close as you can get). Not every bike has a quick release, so if you have nuts securing your wheel to the front forks, check they are fastened tightly. Pluck the spokes. Each spoke should have equal tension and not be loose. Next check your tyre pressure and pump to correct amount. The maximum PSI is indicated on the tyre – don’t overfill!
Check to see if your headset (handlebars and stem) is loose. To do this, stand either side of the front wheel trapping it between your feet. Grab the handlebars and shake from side to side. If loose, straighten in line with the wheel and tighten the bolt(s) on the stem with a hex key.
Check the brakes are fully working. Squeeze the front and rear brakes, one at a time, and try to move the bike to ensure wheels will slow and stop safely.
If the brake lever pulls against the handlebar grip then the cable may need adjusting. Loosen the anchor bolt on the brake caliper, pull the cable a little tighter and re-tighten the bolt.
Both sides of the brake should move when brake lever is pulled. If one side doesn’t move, turn the small adjuster screw on that side using a Phillips screwdriver (cross-head) until the side moves.
Rim brake blocks should grip the wheel rim and not the tyre. Adjust using hex key as required. Please do not let the brake blocks or pads wear down to the metal. Replace as necessary.
Check the pedals are fixed securely to the crank and spinning freely.
Your chain should be clean, oiled and clear of debris. When oiling your chain use a thin layer of oil and wipe off any excess. An over-oiled chain attracts grit, dirt and debris.
Your saddle should be at the correct height, completely flat and not tilted up or down. Depending on the seat tube collar, you will need a hex key or 13mm spanner to tighten the bolt.
6. Rear Wheel
Do the same checks as with the front wheel: check the quick release is tightly secured pointing up toward your saddle (or as close as you can get). If you have nuts securing your wheel to the frame, check they are fastened tightly. Pluck the spokes. Each spoke should have equal tension and not be loose. Check your tyre pressure. The maximum PSI is indicated on the tyre.
The M-Check – What else?
Check the bolts securing your pannier rack to the bike are tight and secure.
Pannier, Handlebar and Frame Bags
Check straps, clips and other fastenings are fully tightened. If a bag falls off the bike while in motion, you could fall off too!
Check mudguards are attached securely to the bike.