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Bicycle Commuting Basics Getting Started: Arrange for secure bike parking. Choose your route.Study maps and base your route on the traffic volume at the time of day you'll be riding. Drive your route first.Look at shoulder construction, street surface and street condition of the route you are considering for your commute. Check the mechanical safety of your bike.See "Before You Ride" for more specifics. Obtain the necessary repair tools and learn to use them. Consider bringing a spare tube, patch kit, tire irons, bike pump and a set of simple tools. Most bike shops can make recommendations specific to your bike. Before You Ride: Make sure your bicycle is in good riding condition. On a periodic basis you should take it to a bicycle shop for a check-up or inspect the following things yourself: Brakes - Standing next to your bike, push it forward, squeezing each brake one at a time. Each brake should offer considerable resistance. Tires - Check the pressure with a gauge or by thumb pressure (it should be firm). The recommended pressure is normally printed on the side of the tire. Fill your tires using a hand pump to avoid overinflation or possible blow-out caused by using gas station compressors set for automobile tires. Seat - Adjust seat height so your knee is just slightly bent when the pedal is straight down. If minor adjustments are needed, make them incrementally, allowing body time to adjust to each new setting. Handlebars - Holding the front whell still, try to move the handlebars from side to side. If the handlebars move more than the wheel, they need tightening. Steering - Holding the handlebars, depress the front brake lever and rock the bike back and forth over the front wheel. If you detect play or a knocking noise, the headset needs adjustment. If you find anything wrong with your bike, make certain it is repaired before riding it. Don't chance riding an unsafe vehicle!
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