How to check your bike is safe before riding 

The ABCDE bike check is a simple and easy way to teach your kids how to ensure their bike is safe before riding.

Jun 18, 2024

Making sure a bike is safe before riding is a fundamental aspect of learning to ride a bike.

Just like making sure your car is running smoothly before you drive it, the same can be applied to a bike. Before doing anything else, you want to ensure your child’s bike is in proper working order.  

You can do a quick check on your bike, and teach your children to check their own bikes,  using the ABCDE method. 

A is for AIR 

Are the tyres firm when you press firmly on the sides?

Check your tyres to make sure they're nice and firm, like a basketball. If they feel soft, they need more air. The correct tyre pressure is stamped to the side of the wall of the tyre.  

Generally, the ideal tyre pressure for adult road bikes is 90-110PSI, while for small children’s bikes the pressure if 30-40PSI and pre-teens 40-60PSI. A floor pump with a gauge will help measure tyre pressure accurately.  

B is for BRAKES 

Making sure your brakes work before riding is essential.

Squeeze both brake levers to make sure they stop your wheels.

You want them to work smoothly, like giving a big hug to stop. You also want to check the brakes aren’t rubbing on the tyres and the bike is rolling freely.  


The chain is the metal part that goes around the gears.

Make sure the chain spins backwards freely. If not they may not be aligned.

The cranks are the parts your pedals are attached to. Make sure both the chain and cranks are free from dirt and not rusty or wobbly.  

D is for DROP TEST 

Lift your bike up a little bit, about 5cm, and let it drop gently onto the ground.

Listen for any strange sounds or rattles. It should sound solid, like dropping a book.  

E is for END PLUGS 

The ends of the handlebars should not be exposed.

End plugs are on the side of your handlebars and keep them closed so that there are no open spaces at the ends of your handlebars.

Usually, a small plastic plug fills this space. 

Take one final check of your bike.

Finally, take a good look at your bike and check if anything looks broken or loose, make sure your seat is secure, your wheels spin smoothly, and everything else looks okay.  

Now you are ready to ride!