Lesson 1:
Bicycle Inspection



Parents' Instructions

Bicycle Inspection Background

Many crashes are caused by failing brakes, loose handlebars, or children riding bicycles that are too large. Bicycles must fit correctly and work properly for children to be safe when riding.

Parent/Child Activity

Check the size and condition of your child's bicycle.

  1. Size: Children should be able to stand flat footed over the bicycle with at least one inch between the bicycle's top tube (boy's bicycle) and the rider. Inexperienced riders should be able to put both feet on the ground while sitting on the seat. For more experienced riders, the legs should be just slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke with the ball of the foot on the pedal. The bicycle seat should be level and not tilted forward or backward.
  2. Brakes: Coaster brakes - Push the bike forward while pushing back on one pedal; the rear tire should skid. Make sure the brake arm is attached to the frame at the rear wheel. Hand brakes - ensure brake pads are not worn and that they hit the wheels evenly. The brake levers should work smoothly and have one inch of clearance from the handlebars when the brakes are fully applied.
  3. Wheels and Tires: Check to see if the handlebars are tightly fastened by holding the front wheel between your legs and trying to turn the handlebars to the side. If they move, the bolt at the handlebar stem needs to be tightened.
  4. Frame and Fork: Check the frame and fork (the metal arms on either side of the front wheel) for basic straightness. If the frame or fork are not straight, or are cracked, bring it to your local bike shop for repair.

This list is an overview of the most basic elements of bicycle maintenance. If you suspect that your bicycle is not working properly, bring it to your local bicycle repair shop for further inspection and repair.

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