When you first buy an adult trike, all you want is to spend time outdoors. But before you go, it’s not just a matter of jumping on the tricycle and steering it into action. A tricycle pre-ride checklist is a must if you wish to ride safely and keep your trike in good working condition.
Here, we go through the crucial items you need to perform maintenance on, before leaving the house.
Apparently, no one wants to head out with a dirty tricycle. The first item in the tricycle pre-ride checklist maintenance is to clean the frame. This way, you’ll be working on a clean machine. Look for any bent parts either on the frame or fork. If there are crooked points, you are looking at a trike that needs expert repair.
Do the brakes give enough pressure to stop the wheels? Give them a generous squeeze and check to see that there are no loose cables. If you spot a frayed cable, then it’s only right that you oil it at that moment you find out. You don’t want it to get eaten up when you are only 200yards out of the house. A rule of thumb is that the brakes should spring back after pulling.
See that the rubber pads grip the rims when you squeeze the brakes. The pads should not be gripping on the tires as it causes constant rubbing and fast wear of the rubber tires. Always eyeball the brakes when you exert the pressure. The levers should pull halfway to the bars.
If you are dealing with levers that pull all the way, there are simple adjustments which you can perform without tools. Just turn the barrel adjusters from the caliper arm or lever body anticlockwise. This should bring back the correct tension level.
Another thing on the brake pads is their durability. Can they sustain the tricycle for the journey ahead? If not, you’ll need to change them. Some trikes come with wear indicators. They’ll prove useful as you’ll know how much life is left on the brake pads in the tricycle pre-ride checklist.
Wheels and Tires
Pressure! Pressure! Pressure! is what everyone insists. Here, we urge you to inflate the tires only to the correct pressure levels. Overinflated tires can burst inuring your badly while underinflated ones will not get you anywhere. First, clean the rim off dirt and grease before inflating and inspecting the tires.
Remember where you’ll be taking the trike. If on wet roads, the trike should maintain a firm grip on the surface. For 700cc tires, you can inflate them between 90psi-110psi. This should serve as a guide so that they’ll not cause you to bounce off the seat when it slides and stops abruptly.
Look at the tread wear. The tires should maintain a rounded tread as opposed to a square one. The tread should not reveal the tube if you wish to keep great traction.
Perform a visual check to see that there are no places which are susceptible to cracking. Inspect the tires when inflated to see if there are bulges, or any lodged items like broken glass, and other small pieces which may work their way into the tires as you ride considering the tricycle pre-ride checklist.
Lift each wheel and spin it to see if it turns consistently. The wheels should not move from side to side at any moment. Ensure that they do not produce noise, and if they do, then there’s a problem with the hubs. Most likely a spoke or two is broken and is hitting the center. You don’t want to start the journey with a broken spoke.
And if the spokes are not yet broken, simply give them a gentle squeeze to feel if they have the correct tension.
Next, check the handlebars and stem. They should be appropriately tightened facing the forward direction. Feel that the handlebars can allow smooth steering without wobbling or losing your course when you grip them. Handlebars give you control of the direction. As such, you should not underestimate how they feel in your hands. Tighten the binder bolt some more if you still feel the grip is not stable.
Steering the tricycle also calls for a stable sitting position. The saddle should be at the correct height. You must be able to hold the handlebars with arms at a 90-degree angle with feet lying flat on the pedals.
The chains should turn smoothly through the front and rear sprockets. There shouldn’t be any rubbing against the derailleurs. If the chains skip the cog or go randomly, perform some tension-correction to restore clean rolling. Turn the barrel adjuster clockwise until there is smooth transition with the chains.
Now turn the pedals clockwise to see how the chains pass through each of the rear derailleurs. Add some oil to the stiff points to make them loose such that they roll by without a hitch. Whenever there’s lots of tension on the chains, they are susceptible to breaking.
It’s time to inspect the cassettes. The teeth should not close in at a sharp point. If they do, you’ll be better off with new cassettes. Keep in mind that the chains and cassettes should be replaced at the same time. Now, inspect the gears to make sure they are dialed in. The pivots that connect the rear derailleurs must move freely.
Your tricycle should go through its range of gears without prompting chain slippage or rough shifting when thinking about the tricycle pre-ride checklist.
Service the bearings from time to time. You’ll find them on the wheels, bottom bracket, and headset. Inspect them for corrosion and being worn out before heading out. To know if the bottom bracket bearing is in the right condition, you can take out the chain and spin the crank. Then listen for any rumbles produced by worn bearings. If the rumbling is not audible, listen for any vibrations drawn to the frame.
You may want to replace the bearings if they are worn out to a high degree, otherwise, just lubricate them to ensure they run freely without rattling and producing any excess movement.
Pedals and Cranks
With the cranks facing down and flat, pull them to the right and left to see whether there’s wear in the bearing of the bottom bracket. See that the cranks can indeed be flat and that they are not in a bent position. Also, see that they are properly tightened to the axle at all times.
When conducting the tricycle pre-ride checklist, the pedals should be secure and tight against the crank arms.
Your helmet should fit snugly and comfortably. Check for any cracks on both the outer and inner surface. If there are any cracks, it means that any hit you take could rip the whole thing off putting your head in a vulnerable position for injuries. If it’s in good shape, make sure that straps are secure on the helmet and that they are adjustable to achieve a custom fit.
Ensure that the helmet actually sits on the head and not high above.
Using the multi-tool, go over every nut and bolt to adjust the tension from front to back.
Even after going through the main parts, there are still chances of having a flat tire or a loose bolt that could get in the way of a smooth ride. That’s where a repair kit comes in handy. Here are the things to take in the repair saddle:
- Patch kit and Spare Tube- for small flat tire punctures, the patch kit will do the trick, but for complete blowouts, you’ll have to replace the tube entirely.
- Trike Pump- You’ll have to inflate back the flat tire after repair.
- Multi-tool- It should have a chain tool, Phillips screwdriver, an array of Allen Wrenches, a variety of open/hex wrenches, a flathead screwdriver, and a chain tool.
- Tire levers-These are essential in disassembling the tire from the rim during repair.
Apart from the toolkit, other essential accessories you should not leave behind include:
All reflectors should be in good shape and placed in the right positions during the tricycle pre-ride checklist. The best place to install the reflectors is on the wheels, handlebars, and seatpost.
Front and Rear Lights
These bulbs complement the reflectors adding to visibility at dawn and dusk.
There is nothing like excessive visibility. If you are visiting places without street lighting, adding decorative lights that run all through the wheel should alert other motorists about your presence.
Bells and horns
Instead of yelling “Hey!” to a pedestrian every time you are moments away from knocking them, just include a bell or horn.
To maintain a firm grip with sweaty palms, use gloves to ensure the hands are always planted on the handlebars. In today’s era, we have gloves that double up as turn signals such that you can match up the road-language of other motorists.
Trike Carrying Handle
When navigating through a set of stairs, holding the trike by the frame makes it a bit of a challenge for the tricycle pre-ride checklist. To make the whole process easy, invest in a strong tricycle carrying handle. It shall get you up and down the stairs much faster.
Conclusion about the Tricycle Pre-Ride Checklist
It’s evident that some of the procedures may need some time commitment to perform repairs and maintenance. But if you don’t have the time, you can play a fast visual check which should not take more than two minutes. Otherwise, these procedures are deemed to offer a smooth and safe ride. Do not wait until the wears have piled up warranting expert repairs and extra costs.