Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: SW Florida
Bikes: '04 Trek 2300; '06 Bianchi Pista; '57 Maclean; '10 Scott CR1 Pro; 2005 Trek 2000 Tandem; '09 Comotion Macchiato Tandem; 199? Novara Road; 2014 Cannondale T2 tandem
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Hi - well, it's obviously a Raleigh and it looks like a nice one. Before you set out for France, I suggest you check the following:
Tyres - check for cuts and perished rubber. Replace if necessary
Steering: apply front brake and rock the bike gently to and fro. If you feel play the headset will need adjustment or overhaul
Brake pads: check for wear and also that when the brakes are applied, they don't touch the tyres. Check that brakes work when you ride the bike.
Chainwheels: those ones where the pedals are attached. Check for worn teeth.
Cassette/freewheel: all those cogs at the back. Check for wear. Clean them by removing the wheel and brushing with Simple Green. Wash off with water. Put a few drops of oil in the bearings and wipe off any excess.
Chain: replace it if it looks ugly dirty. If the new chain jumps on the back sprockets, replace them too.
Wheels: check for loose spokes. Check if the rims are true by spinning each wheel and looking at the rim using the brake blocks as reference. Check bearings by lifting the bike, holding the wheel rim and moving the wheel from side to side. If there is play, adjust bearings.
Bottom bracket: where the spindle goes through the bottom of the frame. Check for play by holding a crank and moving it from side to side. If there is play, adjust. Same with pedals. Check for play in the bearings.
Cables: check all cables for rust or fraying. Replace as necessary.
Gears: check that they change smoothly by riding the bike and operating front and rear derailleurs through the complete ranges.
General: put a few drops of oil in wheel and pedal bearings, making sure you wipe off excess. Keep oil off rims.
Set the saddle and handlebar positions to suit you. Search the forums to see how to do this and other items if you are not sure.
I hope this helps
Most of this you can do yourself