Proper Helmet Fit
Though Arkansas state law does not require cyclists to wear helmets, we still think it's a good idea.
- Measure your head. Choose an appropriately sized helmet
- Make sure the helmet is level on your head, with the front resting about two finger-widths above your eyebrows
- Center the buckle under your chin
- Adjust the sliders on the side straps so that it sits just below and in front of your ears
- Snap the buckle together and adjust all straps so the helmet fits snugly. You should be able to fit one or two fingers between the strap and the underside of your chin
- Wiggle your head. Does the helmet stay put? If so, then you're ready to roll. If not, make the appropriate adjustments until it does
ABC Quick Check
A is for Air.
Determine the psi (pounds per square inch) rating for your tires (stamped on the tire’s sidewall) and make sure they are properly inflated. Overinflation and underinflation can increase the risk of getting a flat during your ride.
B is for Brakes.
If your bike has disc brakes, make sure the rotor passes smoothly through the caliper. Test your front and back brakes by standing next to your bike and rocking it back and forth while compressing each brake lever. If either one feels soft or doesn't engage, investigate. Never touch brakes after riding downhill as they are hot. If your bike has traditional rim brakes, ensure that the pads are not too worn down.
C is for Cranks & Chain
Grab both cranks and pull away from the bike. If it feels loose, tighten it. Make sure your chain is free of debris and build-up. If it's dry, dusty, or rusty, apply chain lube.
Quick is for Quick Releases
Ensure that your quick release levers are closed, as they keep your wheels attached to the fork and frame. If you can't find them, don't worry; not all bikes have quick releases. Some use bolts to secure the wheels to the bike.
Check is for, well, Check
Give the whole shebang a once-over. Take the bike by the handlebars, lift it a few inches off the ground, and let go so it bounces a few times. The bike should feel tight, with no loose parts. If something sounds or feels loose, investigate.
If there's a problem you can't diagnose, or if you find something wrong that you can't fix yourself, take your bike to the mechanics at your local bike shop.
Gravel Riding Tips
- Lower tire pressure.
- Make sure you have correct drop bars for your riding position. Long-distance comfort is key.
- Know your water options along the route. Bring what you need.
A list of gravel bike repair essentials
- Spare tube (or two)
- Tire levers
- Pump and/or Co2 inflator
- Tire plugs / tire boot
- Chain tool and quick links
- Map (either paper or on your device)
Be prepared for dogs. Stay aware.