There are a number of things you should do before every ride. We have a five minute quick checkup that should be done, but I thought it better to tell it in pieces, to keep it simple. When the club starts riding as a group, we can review the entire list and make it into a routine. Here are two important things to check before a ride...
Air pressure in both tires...most flats are caused by pinching on the rim from underinfated tires. The air somehow leaks out over time, even if there are no punctures. If you stored your bike all winter, you will notice you have almost flat tires. That is normal. Some tubes hold air better than others, but none will hold high pressure for an entire season. Check them before every ride. As with cars, air is free and fully inflated tires save energy. Since, it's not a car, pushing harder on the throttle is an option that can be quite tiring. Faster riders always will have very high pressure in their tires. The only way to keep up, is to do the same.
Quick releases closed and locked. Obviously this convenience makes tire changes quicker, but they can be opened quite easily by accident. I have seen cases where the QR was hooked in a seatbelt, so when the bike was pulled out of the back seat, it was opened. That is an irony we should try to avoid. I simply make a little tug on each QR with about 1/2 the force needed to open it. If it stays put, I just push it back into position and it is safe. If it pops open, or was already open I have just avoided a nasty accident. If you have quick releases on your wheels, it is absolutely vital that you know how they work. Don't be shy to ask for help if you are not sure. We see lots of QR's every year that are not properly closed. It's very scary.
by: Bill Goldston, Framework Fitness and Bikes, Sydney