I have an old second-hand bike that I use daily for commute, and in a few weeks I want to take it on my first bike tour around Europe.

I'm a bit worried, since the bike is quite old (has some rust spots, a loose spoke or 2, etc.), that it might not be the safest thing to do. However it never had any problems while riding around the city, and unfortunately I don't really have money for a new bike or parts.

Are there some standard checks one can do to see if it's fit for touring? Are there any serious problems that I should be worried about?

  • 5
    Get someone to do a complete tuneup -- loose spokes need to be fixed. Rust is generally who cares unless its structural.
    – Batman
    Jun 25, 2016 at 18:02
  • 3
    There may be a cycling interest group in your town/city who operate a community workshop.
    – Carel
    Jun 25, 2016 at 19:13
  • 2
    Yeah, generally you should get a "tuneup". Tighten loose spokes and true the wheels, check the chain and sprockets for wear, lubricate the chain, check bearing adjustment. A more extensive tuneup would include repacking wheel bearings. Note that you should not do this two days before you leave, but at least a week, in case a freshly-adjusted spoke decides to break or some such. Jun 25, 2016 at 20:02
  • Thanks for the answers, guys. I'll try looking for a cycling interest group, and see if they can help. I'll also try asking in the closest bike shops, hopefully the tuneup will be cheaper than my 80euro bike.
    – milo
    Jun 25, 2016 at 20:52
  • It all depends how handy you are. Sometimes it needs a different set of eyes to see problems with something you're used to. An M check is a good idea, britishcycling.org.uk/knowledge/article/… or use a checklist like fresno.gov/NR/rdonlyres/7CBD7783-94C4-45AC-A5DF-C29BD4353B18/… to help guide you.
    – Criggie
    Jun 25, 2016 at 21:46

3 Answers 3


Get the bike serviced, giving yourself enough time to thoroughly test it, so that if the service introduces any problems, you discover them long before your trip.

There is no standard test for worthiness, you'll have to rely on your judgement.

  • 2
    I'll add that you should generally be prepared for failures. Imagine solving for your worst-case scenario, with 50km to the nearest town with available bicycle service and the bike completely failed. Having tools and parts for the commonest issues (e.g. flat tire) is a good idea, but you can't predict all possibilities, so a last-resort bailout plan will be wise to have. Jun 26, 2016 at 5:07
  • In fact I'm pretty sure tgat there are questions along the lines "what tools should I carry on a tour?" on here alteady. Not only should this be helpful, it is also the reason I didn't go into that side of things.
    – PeteH
    Jun 26, 2016 at 8:41

Before taking it in for a tuneup, it'd be worth checking if any spoke nipples have seized up. Then you can spray them with penetrating oil (wd-40 or gt-85 ... ) giving it plenty of time to soak in so that your bike mechanic is able to true the wheel properly. When you get the bike tuned up, see if you can watch the mechanic whilst they do it. That way, you'll know how to fix some things should they break on your bike tour. Reflecting on my own experiences bicycle touring, the real dangers have been being stranded in the middle of nowhere because I can't fix my bike. So finding a practical bike maintenance course before going would be a good idea.


Get it serviced.

If your not sure what your looking for a service is a must, go visit your local bike shop and explain what your plans are.

Also, M Check. I always do the M check before a long ride or once per week.

M-Check : http://www.cyclinginstructor.com/Bicycle_m_check

Enjoy your ride

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