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Coaching E-Zine - The M Check


The 'M' Check

The 3 minute safety check for your bike.                        

Here's a great little picture to visually illustrate the bike safety check which you should cover when coaching a group or individual. It is called the ‘M’ Check.  As you can see from the picture you simply follow an ‘M’ from the front of the bike to the rear, covering all working and moving parts and equipment.
Before you set out on your bike either on the road or a bike trail you must go through the ‘M’ Check with the riders, anything that is loose requires tightening should be done immediately like the seat post or brakes.  Always carry bike tools to perform quick riding repairs and maintenance on a ride.

The basic ‘M’ check will need to be done on a regular basis. This involves conducting a safety check of all the main working parts of a bike and it should take no more than 3-4 minutes to complete.   


Quick Release or Wheel Nuts:  
Check quick release skewer is firmly closed or that axle nuts are fully tightened.

Tyre Wear:  Check visually that tyres are not split or cracked and that there is tread remaining on the tyre.

Tyre Pressure:  Check that tyre is firmly inflated to the recommended pressure on the tyre wall (30–35 psi for a mountain bike & 100–110 psi for a road bike).

Hub Bearings:  Spin tyre, shake left and right with your hand to check that there are no loose bearings.

Rims and Spokes:  Check visually for any defects, and spin wheel to check that it runs true. 


Brake Levers:  Check angle of levers and that these can be comfortably reached.

Brake pads or blocks:  Check that blocks are correctly positioned and not worn beyond the wear indicators.

Brake Discs:  Check for damage or dents.

Brake cables/fluid tubes:  Check that cables are not frayed or heavily corroded. Check tubes are topped up and bleed to ensure they are working.

The best way to get a group to check their front brake is to ask them to apply the brake and try to push their bike forward, the back wheel should come off the ground.

The same principle applies to the rear brakes.  Ask them to apply the brakes and try to move their bike backwards, the front wheel should come off the ground.


Seat Tube:  Check that the ‘minimum insertion’ marker is not visible above the seat tube; check that post is securely gripped in frame.

Saddle:  Try to rock saddle in different directions to check that it is fitted securely; check visually that saddle is straight and level. 

Handlebars & Headset

Stem Alignment:  Hold front tyre between knees and turn gently to check that the handlebar stem is correctly aligned with the front wheel and tightened.

Handlebar Alignment:  Check that handlebars are correctly aligned and secured by stem.

Headset Bearings:  Apply brakes and rock bike back and forth to feel for loose headset bearings; check that handlebars move freely.

Gears & Transmission

Chain:  Check that chain is not rusted and does not easily come off front chain wheel.

Cassette:  Look at the cassette for missing and damaged teeth.

Derailleur Position:  Ensure that the rear derailleur is not rubbing on the spokes.

Gear Cable:  Check gear cable works to move Derailleur up and down to change gears.

Pedals & Crank

Check that pedals are on secure and not broken.

Crank:  Hold crank and see if you can move from side to side. If no movement the bearings are not worn.

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