Pre-ride steps you should take before cycling long distances

cycling long distancescycling long distances
cycling long distancescycling long distances

Pre-ride steps you should take before cycling long distances

When you’re new to cycling, the preparation and planning for a long ride might seem unheard of. Beyond keeping hydrated and having the correct riding gear at hand, there should be a set plan to ensure a smooth ride. Whether you’re going for a short or long cycling adventure, you should always consider the condition of your bike. After all, it is the vehicle responsible for getting you to and from the destination.

Here are a few maintenance tips to take into consideration before committing to a long ride:


  • Wipe-down your bike beforehand

Place your bike on a repair stand and give it a good wipe down with a soapy cloth. If you don’t have one, it would be a good item to invest in as in the months to come they can come in particularly handy. Cleaning your bike will take away any dirt that may be a hazard to your safety or performance. For example, if your chain has a buildup of grease, take the time to clean it out and spray the chain with a degreaser. Let it sit for a while before washing again. Get yourself a bucket with warm water to get rid of any soap that may be left on the bicycle. As for the chain, squeeze some water into the links to make sure they’re clean and ready for some pressure. Make sure the bike is completely dry once you are finished.


  • Check the headset and bottom bracket

A headset and bracket check is only needed to feel for any loose bolts that could come undone or put you in danger during your cycle. Depending on how often you use your bicycle, and whether it’s for road or mountain biking, keep checking your bicycle frame for stability. Most bottom brackets on bicycles are reliable for years, but sometimes it can come loose. If so, simply adjust it carefully.


  • Make sure your tyres are up to scratch

Your tyres are one of the most important to elements of your bicycle. Have an in-depth check for any cracks, blisters or flat spots on your tyres. This is equally important if you’ve been riding often or not at all. Make sure your tyres are also pumped up and sitting in the correct tyre seating. Now, this might sound like gibberish, but a tyre seating is above the rim. Your tyres should not dip below the rim at all, and if so, deflate your tyres and start again. Your wheels need to be tight and ready to withstand some pressure.

If you’re looking for new tyres, you can look at online bicycle shops in South Africa to give you a better idea of what is needed for your level of activity. These online bicycle stores also stock a variety of different prices which you can match according to your budget.


As briefly discussed, make sure your chain does not have any caked up grease or dirt that is affecting the chain and gears performance. After you’ve cleaned it, make sure you add lubricant to the chain and shift it through the gears a few times to ensure that it runs smoothly and does not get stuck. Also, test your gears to make sure each gear works properly. Any rear shift should immediately push it into the next gear.

If your bike is a newer and electronic model, your experience will be slightly less complicated. Make sure your battery is fully charged before the long ride. If not, your gear system won’t work.


  • Have a look at your brakes and brake pads

Taking on a long distance ride or race with faulty brakes and brake pads is not a good idea. Within saying that, make sure you take a look at your pads to see if they need replacing. If there was something wrong, you would have been able to pick something up over the months. But nevertheless, it’s still worth doing the inspection for safety purposes. To inspect your pads, you’re going to need to remove the wheels and analyse the braking material left. Anything less than 1.5mm means you desperately require new ones. If you pick up any strange movements, book your bike in for a maintenance check shortly after.



Going on a long-distance cycle requires you to go through a checklist of things you either need to pack or have a look at before you set foot on your cycling adventure. From the right clothing equipment to hydration, accessories and the actual maintenance checking of your bike as mentioned above, there are many things that could go wrong if you don’t take the right precaution. The thing with long-distance is that you might experience something when you’re hours away from home, so best you plan accordingly. If there are any items you need, search ‘online bicycle shops in South Africa’ or ‘bicycle online’ to assist with your search. It’s important to have all the right equipment and items when you start cycling often.

cycling long distances