I don’t blame you since the benefits of biking (as with any endurance activity) are many such as improved physical fitness, weight loss, decreased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, biking is great for the environment and easier on your wallet (gas and parking money be gone).
However, before heading out on your first biking adventure, here is a safety checklist to complete first:
Ensure your tires are inflated to the rated pressure as listed on the sidewall of the tire and be sure to use a pressure gauge to insure proper pressure. While you’re at it, check for damage to the tire tread and sidewall and replace if damaged.
Inspect pads for wear, replace if there is less than ¼” of pad left. Check pad adjustment to make sure they do not rub tire or dive into spokes. Check the brake level travel. It should be at least 1″ between bar and lever when applied.
CRANKS and CHAINS
Make sure that your crank bolts are tight but lube the threads only, nothing else. Check your chain for wear, 12 links should measure no more than 12 1/8 inches (30.8 cm). If your chain skips, you might need a new one or just an adjustment.
Hubs need to be tight in the frame; your quick release should engage at 90°. Your hub quick release should point back to insure that nothing catches on it. Inspect brake quick releases to insure that they have been re-engaged.
Take it out for test spin and see if derailleurs and brakes are working properly. Listen and inspect the bike for loose or broken parts; tighten, replace or fix them. And always wear a helmet for safety. Now be like Lance, and use pedal power!
For more information about staying active, check out Jon Benson’s and Tom Venuto’s Fit Over 40. Benson describes his personal struggles with weight loss and the setbacks he endured during his quest for optimal fat loss.